Report of the Allocations of Large Programs
SAC Teleconference, 26 June 2018

Note: The report presented below is the public version of the SAC teleconference report as amended by the CFHT Board of Directors in accordance with the CFHT Communications Policy.

After deliberation during its Quarterly Report-II in July 2018 and subsequent consultation with the SAC and the CFHT Executive, the CFHT Board of Directors endorsed the recommendations included in the report.

Recommendation 1 SPIRou Legacy Survey (SLS) Program Allocation
Recommendation 2 SIGNALS Program Allocation
Recommendation 3 Unallocated Large Program Time

The Science Advisory Council met by telecon to discuss allocations for CFHT Large Programs. In attendance were SAC members Stéphane Courteau, Emanuele Daddi, Tristan Guillot (vice-chair), David Lafrenière, Nicolas Martin, Roberto Mendez, Kim Venn, Richard Wainscoat and Chris Willott (chair) and CFHT Executive members Doug Simons, Daniel Devost and Andrew Sheinis. SAC member Anthony Boccaletti sent apologies.

SAC members identified the proposals for which they are co-Is and therefore conflicted. All SAC decisions on potential Large Programs were made by the non-conflicted members. Review of the submitted Large Program proposals followed the procedure outlined previously by the SAC. The proposals were first reviewed by the Canadian and French national TACs with external referees providing detailed reports on the merits of the proposals. The national TAC rankings and reasoning were then discussed at the LPTAC telecon on 21 June 2018. The LPTAC was composed of 3 members from each of France and Canada and 1 member from Hawaii. The original plan had been to also include 3 external members on the LPTAC, but CFHT was unable to secure participation of externals, with only one external providing a written report on the proposals. The LPTAC forwarded their rankings and summary to the SAC along with feedback on each proposal.

SAC Recommendations to the Board

RECOMMENDATION #1: SAC recommends that the SPIRou Legacy Survey (SLS) program be allocated 300 nights. After careful review of the latest SPIRou technical commissioning results SAC is cautiously optimistic that the instrument will be ready for science at some point in 2018B and that the SLS should begin as soon as possible, even though incremental performance improvements are expected over time. We agree with the LPTAC that the SLS should be subject to a technical review each year to determine whether the performance, particularly RV stability, is enabling the proposed science. If the proposed science is not feasible, SAC may reconsider the SLS time allocation for future semesters. SAC is in agreement with the proposers for some protection of targets against duplicate observations and some of the requested extension in proprietary period. Details are provided below.

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SPIRou Legacy Survey Target and Data/Metadata Rights:
  1. The SLS team should provide a list of targets at the start of semester 18B that they have high confidence will be observed as part of the 300 night program. This list will be posted on the CFHT website so that PI proposers for semesters 19A onwards know the SLS target list. Duplication of observations of these targets with SPIRou for science goals covered by the SLS will not be allowed, unless appropriately motivated and approved by the relevant TAC(s) subject to review by CFHT. This list will not include SLS-TF targets with low probability of being observed, due to expected replacement by targets from TESS. This list will not be added to as the program proceeds, but targets should be removed if SLS observations of them will not be made. For transit follow-up targets, such as from TESS, the quickly-changing situation of the best targets make a static target list unrealistic and there will be no mechanism for the SLS to protect targets from observations by others, but we encourage other PIs and the SLS team to work collaboratively to avoid needless duplication.
  2. The SLS team may choose to protect the metadata of their observations from discovery in the CADC archive by the same method already in use for some PI programs, whereby the metadata release date is set equal to the data release date.
  3. The observing plan for the SLS-PS component is to survey a sample of stars with 200 visits each over 4 years. It is important that this data is protected from use by others whilst the SLS team is still collecting and analyzing the data. Therefore we recommend a proprietary time of 1 year after the end of the SLS for this component. SAC notes that the SLS team promise in the proposal that “Data sets completed and published before the end of the survey will be made public at the time of their publication; for the SLS-PS component, we also propose to publicly release one spectrum per observed star after 3 semesters”. This promise factors heavily into our recommendation to allow the very long proprietary time for the SLS-PS, as SAC believes it is important that the external community gets access to some SPIRou data for independent analysis and cross-facility comparisons.
  4. For the SLS-TF and the SLS-MP components we recommend a similar proprietary time of 1 year after the end of the observations, but in this case observations of a target may be completed long before the end of the survey, so we suggest a proprietary time of 1 year after the end of the semester during which all observations of that target are completed. It is the responsibility of the SLS team to provide this information to CFHT when known.

  5. RECOMMENDATION #2: SAC recommends that the SIGNALS program be allocated 50 nights total from Canada and France in addition to up to 4.7 nights from Hawaii, Taiwan and China (subject to approval from those agencies). SAC is excited to see this large study of star-forming regions in nearby galaxies proceed using the unique observing mode of SITELLE. SAC approves the team’s choice to adopt the usual LP proprietary period.

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    RECOMMENDATION #3:SAC recommends that the unallocated Large Program time (50 nights) be reserved as contingency for completion of current and future Large Programs. Given the slower progress of CFIS than expected and the unprecedented amount of observing time lost to weather in semester 18A, at least 50 nights, and likely more, will be required to bring the existing LPs (CFIS, VESTIGE & CIPP) to a satisfactory level of completeness that allows their science goals to be realized. In its May 2018 report SAC presented a draft policy on LP completion for adoption by the Board. The recommendation here provides a pool of LP time to be used for program completion, under the assumption that the Board and observatory adopt a LP completion policy.

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    SAC considered carefully the other option of the LPTAC, that 50 nights be allocated directly to its number one ranked LP proposal, CFIS. Whilst completing CFIS is clearly high priority, it was decided that reserving the time for LP completion is the fairest option as it puts other LPs, including future ones, at equal priority for completion.

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    Large Program time breakdown by agency

    The 300 nights for the SPIRou Legacy Survey are to be provided in the 60:70 ratio requested in the proposal with 138 nights from Canada and 162 nights from France.

    The 50 nights for SIGNALS from Canada and France are to be provided as requested in the proposal with 31 nights from Canada and 19 nights from France. Additionally 3.6 nights will be provided by Hawaii, 0.9 nights by Taiwan and 0.2 by China (subject to approval from those agencies).

    In total Canada will allocate 169 of the 185 nights available in the call, reserving the rest for LP completion. France will allocate 181 of the 215 nights available in the call, reserving the rest for LP completion.