Otwarcie konkursu wniosków obserwacyjnych na I semestr 2016

Oto oryginalna wiadomość:

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to inform you that we are now accepting SALT Phase 1 proposals for the period 01 May 2016 - 31 October 2016 (2016 Semester 1).

The Phase 1 proposal deadline is Friday, 29 January 2016, at 18:00 SAST (corresponding to 16:00 UTC).

This proposal call is for SALTICAM, RSS, HRS, and BVIT. All details of the status of specific instrument modes are available in the Call for Proposals link below. In particular note changes from the currently running Semester in the RSS Fabry-Perot mode availability, and new availability of selected RSS spectropolarimetry modes.

Please submit your proposal via the SALT Principal Investigator Proposal Tool (PIPT). Instructions, software, and other information about proposing for SALT can be found on the SALT website.

Call for Proposals, including link to information document:

Instructions for submitting your proposal:

Download the PIPT software:

All questions regarding this proposal call should be addressed to: salthelp(at)

Sincerely, SALT Astronomy Operations


II faza składania wniosków obserwacyjnych

Oto oryginalna wiadomość:

Congratulations to everyone who has received time for the 2015-2 semester.

** As a reminder, the Phase II deadline is 23 October 2015 **

Tips for Creating your Phase II proposal

Tips for creating your phase II proposal:

When creating your phase II proposal for next semester, there is no need for you to retype all the maximum lunar phases you chose in your phase I proposal. You can instead use version 4.7 of the PIPT to copy the phase values, as described at the bottom of

This new version of the PIPT is now available, and can be downloaded from

You don't have to use this version for submitting your proposal. However, if you are planning to use pools in your proposal, you'll at least have to update to version 4.6 of the PIPT.

If you are a Mac user and have upgraded to El Capitan already, you might notice that the PIPT GUI is rather wonky. This seems to be an issue with Java 6, and upgrading to Java 8 should solve the problem.

Fabry-Perot Status

As already communicated to FP users directly, the coatings of the Medium Resolution MR etalon have unfortunately degraded resulting in significant loss of spectral resolution. We have removed it from the telescope and are in the process of determining both costs and timescales for repairs - but we do not expect it will be returned to the telescope for several months.

On the positive side, LR is working well, and the HR etalon has been inserted and we are working to commission the dual etalon HR mode in November. If this effects your program, please contact for more information.

New P4 Policy

There is a new policy on P4 Blocks allowing any accepted program to enter P4 targets to the queue, above their time allocation. These are to be used as filler targets in case we have nothing else available at a given time. If you are unsure what it means, first read the bits about P4 time in the Intro and Section 11.4 of the and discuss with your Liaison Astronomer. Note that using optional targets in pools is more useful in general.

Block Probability

Before the 2015-2 Semester starts, there will be a new 'Block Probability' number on the Web Manager attached to each active Phase II block. The intention is to indicate roughly the chances of a block getting done. The number takes into account Moon phase and Seeing constraints, the 'Observability' i.e. how tight the requested track is within its visibility window, and Competition from all other Blocks in that same window taking into account their Priorities. Note that in case of multiple visits the number refers to the binomial probability of finishing *all* the requested visits taking into account the available tracks over the semester.

The system is live, so you can see the effects when e.g. changing seeing and lunar phase constraints. It also means that the numbers before at least the great majority of Phase II blocks are active do not mean much since the competition calculation will be unrealistic.

Disclaimer: This is our first stab at providing this functionality and it may still contain bugs. Please let us know if you think your nubmers are showing anomalous behaviour.


Status teleskopu SALT w październiku 2015

Oto oryginalna wiadomość:

Recent Scientific Papers

The 2015 calendar year will top the number of 31 refereed SALT publications from 2014. While waiting for the final tally, here is a list of SALT papers that have appeared since our last update in July:

* Brosch et al. study an "empty ring galaxy" using RSS/Fabry-Perot observations finding a past merger of disc galaxies and current star formation in a regularly spinning gas ring.

* Coe & Kirk present a catalogue of Be/X-ray binary systems in the Small Magellanic Cloud including H-alpha measurement using RSS.

* Gvaramadze et al. combine Spitzer Space Telescope and RSS data to characterize the blue Galactic supergiant MN18 and its bipolar circumstellar nebula.

* Hajduk et al. combine X-Shooter spectra with RSS data to conclude that [JD2002]11 is the ninth symbiotic star known in total, and only the 2nd known dusty symbiotic star in the Small Magellanic Cloud.

* Karachentsev, Kniazev & Sharina present RSS spectroscopy of a globular cluster in the center of the nearby isolated dwarf spheroidal galaxy KKs3.

* Katkov, Kniazev & Sil'chenko show, using RSS spectra of isolated lenticular galaxies, that there is a large range in their formation epochs and that their gas is likely externally accreted by minor mergers.

* Macfarlane et al. present the overview and first results of the large OmegaWhite survey at ESO/VST for short-period variable stars, including follow-up spectroscopy with SALT/RSS.

* Menzies, Whitelock & Feast study AGB variables in the Local Group galaxy IC 1613 and their RSS spectra demonstrates on-going "hot bottom burning" in an Oxygen-rich Mira variable.

* Silverman et al. include RSS data in their study of high-velocity features of calcium and silicon in a large sample of Type Ia SN spectra.

* Zinchenko et al. present oxygen abundance distributions in six late-type galaxies based on RSS spectra of regions of ionized hydrogen in these galaxies.

Too Large A Black Hole in the news

And in another new publication, Jacco van Loon from Keele University and Anne Sansom from the University of Central Lancashire used SALT to study a significantly over-sized nuclear black hole in a modest-mass early-type galaxy. This result was featured on CNN along with the Espresso morning TV show here in South Africa. For more details, see:
SALT Press Release:

Record number of Blocks Observed

We don't know what the final number will be yet, but this semester has seen a record number of blocks observed! Eric Depagne and Thea Koen passed the old record of 798 blocks on 3 October. See how they celebrated the accomplishment of passing 800 observed blocks!
SALT Facebook:

Laser Frequency Comb at SALT

We have been fortunate to be approached by researchers from the University Heriot-Watt in Edinburgh, the Department of Photonics and Quantum Science, asking SALT to provide an on-sky test for their prototype laser frequency comb. These instruments provide an incredibly precise method to calibrate spectroscopy using tens of thousands of lines with well known wavelengths. Currently, only HARPS at ESO is equipped with such an instrument, and with such a calibrator it regularly delivers precision down to a few cm/s.

The frequency comb is expected to be installed on the telescope for a three month period and provide HRS with a high stability calibration source. It will be installed, commissioned and tested as soon as it arrives in January 2016, and will be available for HRS science during the second quarter of 2016. For more information, and if you have ideas of how to make use of the capability on HRS in this limited time period, please contact us at

SALT polarimetry update

The RSS polarimetry beamsplitter was returned to its US manufacturer in 2013 after problems were discovered with leaking coupling fluid. An alternative coupling "gel" was used in the repair and the beamsplitter was successfully re-installed into RSS in June 2015. The recommissioning of the mechanical and electrical mechanisms and control software associated with the polarimetry mode has been ongoing over the past few months. As of October 2015, closed dome re-commissioning tests are almost complete. On-sky commissioning and calibrations are scheduled to begin in October/November 2015. We hope some of the polarimetry modes will be ready to be advertised for the SALT 2016-1 Semester Call, but at this point we are not certain yet. We will keep users informed. For more information about RSS polarimetry, please send any queries to

RSS Guider

A new RSS guider project is progressing well with proof-of-concept hardware for the motion stage and stand-alone control system on its way and concept designs of all the major components under way. This new two-probe design will be able to deliver rotation guidance (which especially MOS mode users will appreciate) and automatic focus feedback (which the observers will greatly appreciate), while delivering significantly improved performance with much fainter stars, reaching the same V~20 mag in 15 sec sensitivity as the current FIF guider. It is expected to be ready for integration with the telescope towards the end of 2016.

Tracker Upgrade

Last week, the telescope was taken offline for the installation of the new Y-drive motors. The installation went smoothly and the telescope was back online and in operation after only two nights of down time. The final stage of the upgrade is expected to be carried out in April 2016 and will result in a much better performing and capable tracker for the telescope. Congratulations to the TechOps team for successfully carrying out this major milestone!


Status teleskopu SALT w lipcu 2015

Oto oryginalna wiadomość:

Darragh O'Donoghue's sudden passing on 25 June 2015 has left a huge hole in of our lives. Darragh was directly responsible for much of the success of SALT and was leading the long term plan for the telescope as well as in the midst of developing new instrumentation for use by the community. More importantly, he was a mentor and friend to many of us. A memorial will be held for Darragh at SAAO on 24 July. For those who cannot attend, written tributes may be email to Lisa Crause at crause [at] or posted online at

Call for Proposals

We wish to remind all of the Phase-1 deadline for submissions is July 31st, 6pm SAST.

Science Papers

Since the last SALT update in early March, there have been many SALT papers published. The full list is available at As always, please let us know of any that we have missed.

* Czerny et al. discuss the origin of the Broad Line Region and AGN models, and specifically compare the expected line profiles with quasar Mg II line profiles from SALT data.

* Hajduk, Hoof & Zijlstra study the evolution of H-rich central stars of young planetary nebulae.

* Kirk et al. present SALT multi-object spectroscopic observations of galaxy clusters detected by ACT, and find a type II QSO in a brightest cluster galaxy. The paper is useful reading to anyone planning RSS/MOS observations.

* Kollatschny et al. study strong magnetic fields near the central black hole in the quasar PG0043+039 using simultaneous multi-wavelength observations with SALT, HET, HST and XMM-Newton.

* Pozo Nunez et al. present results of a monitoring campaign of the Seyfert 1 galaxy PGC 50427 to study its broad-line region and dust torus size.

* Samsom et al. find, using RSS spectroscopy, the low-luminosity, early-type galaxy NGC 59 to be very metal poor constraining the way massive galaxies are built up from such building blocks.

* Spark & O'Donoghue study the shape of the emitting region on white dwarf surfaces using multiple high time resolution observations of an eclipsing cataclysmic variable OY Car with Salticam.

* Tomov et al. report on RSS long-slit observations of the stellar and the nebular remnants of 22 southern post-novae.

* White et al. study radio-quiet quasars in the VIDEO survey and suggest radio emission is AGN-powered rather than star-formation activity; RSS was used for obtaining redshifts of the targets.

* Jones et al. used SALT and VLT spectra to check for radial velocity shifts in a pair of planetary nebula.

* Ilkiewicz et al. analyze multi-epoch observation sof LMC S63, a deeply eclipsing Magellanic symbiotic star.

SALT Science Conference

The SALT Science Conference was a success, featuring many on-going SALT projects and general excitement of recent results. The conference itself was featured well in the South African media, especially the keynote presentation given by the Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor. See the conference web-site for science talks given at the conference and the SAAO web-site for a PR summary

Phase 1 Tips and Tricks

There will be a number of useful Phase-1 tips posted on the SALT Blog site prior to the proposal deadline. For example, check out this post on general hints on strategy:


Check out our new popular level SALT news pages at The pages are are updated approximately once a month and are maintained by one of the SALT Operators, Thea Koen. If you have are willing to write a short piece for the benefit of all, please contact her at


Konkurs wniosków obserwacyjnych na 2 semestr 2015 roku

Do 31 lipca 2015 r. do godz. 16:00 UTC można składać wnioski obserwacyjne (faza 1) na wszystkie instrumenty teleskopu SALT na okres od 1 listopada 2015 roku do 31 lipca 2016 roku.

Oto oryginalna wiadomość:

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to inform you that we are now accepting SALT Phase 1 proposals for the period 01 Nov. 2015 - 30 April 2016 (2015 Semester 2) The Phase 1 proposal deadline will be 31 July 2015 at 18:00 SAST (corresponding to 16:00 UTC).

Please note that this proposal call is for SALTICAM, BVIT, HRS, and RSS, but with some modes, such as Fabry-Perot HR still on a "best efforts" basis (i.e. no guarantees regarding performance or completion), or not available at all. In particular, we will not accept polarimetric proposals, although it may be possible that we'll reactivate previous polarimetric commissioning proposals later in the semester should this mode becomes available.

Please submit your proposal via the SALT Principal Investigator Proposal Tool (PIPT). Instructions, software, and other information about proposing for SALT can be found on the SALT website.

Call for Proposals, including link to information document:

Instructions for submitting your proposal:

Download the PIPT software:

All questions regarding this proposal call should be address to:

Astronomy Operations


Pomoc w redukcji danych z SALT

Oto oryginalna wiadomość:

Dear SALT user -

This letter is directed to any PI or co-I who has in the past received data from SALT. We are interested in getting SALT data published, and hence are offering help where possible and where it would be useful. We are also gathering feedback to improve efficiency.

1) If you have published your data, thank you very much. On the other hand, There are a myriad of reasons why observations don't get published. Maybe the data were clearly of inferior quality or not enough for the science purpose. And some project types (e.g. monitoring, student theses) often just take a long time. But if you are in a possession of a reasonably complete data-set and have not yet published it, we would like to know if there is anything we could help you with. This could be in the area of data reductions, calibrations, or perhaps some trivial amount of data or information missing for the set to be useful.

- Please send an email to salthelp with any details you wish to give us. Add the word "help" and a program ID in the subject line for us to keep the requests organized.

- We cannot guarantee results. But we do promise to at least assess the situation with you to see if there is something to be done, and possibly assign one of the SALT Astronomers to work with you.

2) In an effort to make future SALT Astro Ops more effective we would be interested in your frank feedback. What part of the process worked in your opinion, what did not? Were the data acceptable, useful, or not?

- Please send an email to salthelp with the word "feedback" in the subject line and a program id if appropriate.

3) Finally, we wish to advertise the fact that SALT data quality is improving.

- There was a significant increase in RSS throughput recently.
- Stray-light affecting faintest RSS observations have also significantly been reduced.
- The active alignment system for stable PSF (the SAMS) is not on-line yet. However, the central 7 segments already have sensors and are gathering performance data.
- There is a high priority project to implement a new RSS guider to address rotational guiding issues affecting especially MOS observations.
- We are aware that many users are waiting for a HRS reduction pipeline. When ready, we will announce the availability and help PIs to get extracted spectra from both past and on-going HRS data sets.
- We have studied the completion fractions of blocks and programs over the previous semesters and have tips and suggestions on how to maximize your chances of finishing programs. We will include these in the next Call for Proposal in late June.

We do hope that you continue to use SALT for your science and hope that with upcoming improvements we can deliver the kind of quality data originally expected.

-Petri Vaisanen
and the whole SALT Astronomy Operations team.


Status teleskopu SALT w marcu 2015

Oto oryginalna wiadomość:

Janusz Kaluzny

We are saddened by the untimely passing of Janusz Kaluzny on 6 March 2015. Janusz, of the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center in Poland, was involved in SALT from its very first days, and throughout the project devoted his time and wisdom to ensuring that SALT would live up to the high expectations of it. His contributions, both scientific and technical, will be missed.

SALT Operations

After running the Astronomy Operations for 10 years, David Buckley has taken a sabbatical and will return to SAAO and SALT related projects as SALT Scientist at the end of this year.

Chris Coetzee has been named the SALT Operations Manager and any issues or feedback regarding management of the operations and process as a whole should be addressed to him at Petri Vaisanen has taken over as the Head of SALT Astronomy Operations since mid-January. Any questions relating to SALT science and programs should be addressed to him at or Normal operations and on-going programs continue to be handled by the assigned individual Liaison SAs as previously.

DDT proposals and questions should be sent to DDT proposals are assessed by the SAAO director Ted Williams and Petri Vaisanen. More details at

SALT Papers since November

In 2014, 33 papers were published that included SALT data. Already, 2015 is off to a great start and here are some of the refereed papers that have been published this year (and please do let us know of SALT papers we may have omitted):

* Mitchell et al. published the first results from RINGS -- a Fabry-Perot survey of a nearby galaxies.

* Kalari and Vink present optical spectra of pre-main-sequence candidates in the Low Metallicity Galactic Star-forming Region Sh 2-284

* Milisavljevic report on the Broad-lined Type Ic SN 2012ap and its lack of +gamma ray detection.

* Mamajek et al. present the closest known flyby of a star, WISE J0720, to the Solar System (see below for PR).

* Ivanov et al. present characteristics of the solar neighbour WISE J0720 (see below for Press Release).

* Stritzinger et al. include RSS spectra in their comprehensive study of the bright and energetic Type Iax SN 2012Z.

* Kniazev, Gvaramadze, and Berdnikov discover a new galactic luminous blue variable star (see below for Press Release)

* Manick, Miszalski, and McBride publish first results of a radial velocity survey of post-common-envelope Wolf-Rayet central stars of planetary nebulae.

For a full listing of all the papers published in 2014, please see:

SALT Science Conference 2015

Registration for 'Science with SALT' conference to be held at the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Study (STIAS) from 1-5 June is now open. Please visit the conference website for more information:

SALT in the News

Recently SAAO issued two SALT related Press Releases. One about the closest known stellar fly-by of a late type star / brown dwarf binary intruder through the Oort Cloud 70.000 years ago and the other about finding a rare Luminous Blue Variable star.

Long-time scale studies of High Redshift Quasars

Justyna Modzelewska from CAMK along with her collaborators have been using SALT to monitor the variability of high redshift quasars with the goal of eventually using these objects to help study Dark Energy. They have published some of their early results and you can read all the details in the blog post here:

SALT DDT followup of MASTER transients

As part of a SALT Directors Discretionary Time program, snapshot RSS spectroscopic observations were undertaken of three MASTER SAAO transients in order to optically identify them. They were subsequently identified (and the results published in Astronomers Telegrams) to be a Dwarf Nova declining from outburst (Atel #7165), a flaring FSRQ blazer, at a redshift of 0.90 (Atel #7167), and an eclipsing Polar with a 2.1 h orbital period (Atel #7169). The latter was determined from follow-up photometry on the SAAO 1.9-m and 1.0-m telescopes using the high speed SHOC cameras. This was conducted during a campaign of CV photometry undertaken by UCT graduate students Hannes Breytenbach and Mokhine Motsoaledi, together with John Thorstensen and students from Dartmouth College, who have been visiting SAAO and UCT for the summer.

Phase-1 proposals for 2015-1

We received 76 proposals for the upcoming Semester 2015-1 starting May 1. The process is now with the various Time Allocation committees. For all proposals, the time available was oversubscribed by a factor of 1.3. The successful PIs will be informed by the Ast Ops by 1 April and phase-2 material will be expected to be submitted by 17 April.

RSS throughput

We are very happy to announce a significant improvement of the RSS optics throughput after the RSS optics fix in September/October. The efficiency increase is approximately a factor of 1.4 and even better in the blue. More details are available here:

RSS Fabry-Perot mode

After the re-installation of RSS in November we have unfortunately struggled to get the FP mode stable and calibrated. New cabling was required which arrived only in January. Calibrating all the required wavelength regions has been slow due to various technical issues, but we are making progress are are confident that both LR and MR are back on-sky during this month. The good news is that LR mode is on-line after a long period off-line in 2013-2014.

We do sincerely apologize for significant loss of valuable time for accepted FP programs during 2014-2.


Rozpocząłęła się rejestracja uczestników konferencji "Science with SALT 2015". Potrwa ona do 1 kwietnia br.

Konferencja odbędzie się w dniach od 1 do 5 czerwca br. w Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Study, w pobliżu Kapsztadu w Republice Południowej Afryki.

Organizatorzy szczególnie mocno zapraszają studentów. Osoby zainteresowane udziałem w tej konferencji proszone są o kontakt z prof. Joanną Mikołajewską (

Oto oryginalna wiadomość:

Dear Colleagues,

This is to inform you that registration for the forthcoming "Science with SALT 2015" conference at the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Study (STIAS) from 1-5 June is now open.

Please visit the conference website:

Here you will find more details and the conference registration page. The deadline for registration and submitting an abstract for a talk or poster is 1 April.

We encourage students to attend this meeting and depending on the level of funding we receive, we will waiver or subsidize the R2000 registration fee (which covers all breaks and lunches) and possibly also contribute to accommodation expenses.

We look forward to seeing you in June!

Kind regards,
David Buckley
Eric Wilcots
SOC co-chairs

Deklaracja dostępności       |       Webmaster: