NOTE: This is just for reference purpose to illustrate the amount of work involved in writing the proposal. The amateur program has since been discontinued....sorry



All amateur proposals to use the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) must describe a self-contained and well defined scientific program, and must include a discussion of the methods for obtaining and analyzing data in order to achieve the scientific goals of the project. The principal investigator (PI) will be expected to understand the goal(s) of his or her proposal and to publish the results in the scientific literature. This program is open to all United States citizens and legal residents who do not have an advanced degree in astronomy.

Amateur proposals will be judged largely on the basis of scientific merit, by the method of peer review, by members of the Amateur Astronomers Working Group (AAWG). This committee of leading U.S. amateur astronomers consists of representatives of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO), the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (ALPO), Astronomical League (AL), International Amateur Professional Photoelectric Photometry (IAPPP), International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA), and jointly the Corporation for Research Amateur Astronomy and Western Amateur Astronomers (WAA). After screening by the AAWG, a small group of finalist recommendations will be sent to the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) for technical feasibility studies, after which those to observe with HST will be selected. Amateurs receiving time on HST will be invited to STScI to fine tune their instrument configurations and operating modes in order to achieve the most meaningful results; they will also have some support of STScI in the analysis of their data.

The original news release from NASA and STScI points out that "a few hours of observing time" has been reserved for amateur astronomers by the director of STScI. Dr. Riccardo Giacconi, the original director, further stated that he expected amateurs "to ask refreshingly new questions." Amateur proposals duplicating proposals already submitted by professional astronomers will not be considered unless the amateur has contributed a unique and creative aspect to the observation. It should be emphasized that duplication of observation will be the exception rather than the rule.

Information from your proposal will be entered in a database at STScI to estimate the resources required by the program (e.g. spacecraft time, data volume, real-time requirements) and to test for duplication with both Guaranteed Time Observers (GTOs) and General Observers (GOs). In order to give more amateurs time on the HST, total observing time will be of prime importance. However, an original, creative proposal may justify much of the allotted time if it offers a real contribution to the advancement of astronomy.

Keep in mind that the AAWG attempts to involve as many amateurs in this program as "time" allows. Just how much time amateurs will be given will depend on how unique and creative your ideas are. At minimum, proposals should emphasize the use of HST's special capabilities: its high angular resolution, extended spectral range, and superior sensitivity. Only research proposals that cannot be done from the ground will be considered.

In order for the AAWG to properly evaluate your proposal, you will need to provide the following information. We recommend you keep photocopies of all material submitted to the AAWG.


To meet the qualifications for this program you must:

  1. Be a U.S. citizen or legal resident of the United States.

  2. Not have, or be currently receiving, a MS or PhD degree in astronomy or astrophysics.

  3. Not be employed at a facility involved in professional research in astronomy or astrophysics.

  4. Not derive the majority of your income from astronomy or astrophysics (teaching or research).
The AAWG reserves the right to determine the eligibility of any proposer.

Amateur astronomers not meeting qualification (1) should contact the headquarters of the European Space Agency regarding any parallel program they may have instituted.


1. Title
Title the proposal such that it contains Keywords. (See attached list of keywords) The keywords will be used during computer searches to determine the technical feasibility of your proposal.

2. Objective
Specific scientific goals of your project. What do you hope to learn from your observation(s)? Why is it important? What do you base this information on?

3. Literature Search
Bibliography of literature references relating to your subject and target. Your references should deal with what is known about your target, what has already been done from ground-based observatories, and if there are plans for future studies by the author(s).
Photocopies of one to three of your most recent literature references, which cannot be returned, should be included with your detailed proposal.

4. Technical Feasibility
Why is the HST necessary to collect data? Why can't the observation be made with ground-based telescopes? How do resolution, magnitude, and specific wavelengths of light influence your observations?

5. Collection of Data with HST
How do you propose to use HST to collect the necessary data to complete your observation(s)? Use the enclosures provided with this packet of material [available only in hardcopy from HST to determine scientific instrument (SI) capabilities. (More detailed HST instrument handbook which pertain to your specific proposal may be found in university libraries).

5.1 Target Name:

  1. The maximum allowable length of a target name is 30 characters and only upper-case characters should be used.

  2. No blanks are permitted in target names. Blanks between letters and numerals should be suppressed (e.g. HD140283, NGC4378), but a hyphen should replace blanks between two letters or two numerals (e.g. ALPHA-CEN, NGC224-0040+4058), and should also be used where required for clarity (e.g. NGC4468-POS 1).

  3. Only letters and numerals are allowed in target names; punctuation (other than hyphens and + or -) is not permitted (e.g. BARNARDS-STAR, not BARNARD'S-STAR). Greek letters should be spelled out (e.g. ALPHA-BOO, ARCTURUS, ANDROMEDA-GALAXY, ORION-NEB).

5.2 Target Position
A position must be specified for each fixed target. If the target is not fixed, such as a solar system object or star with large proper motion, the name of the planet, asteroid, or star with proper motion will suffice. For fixed targets there are three options: (1) specify the celestial coordinates (right ascension, declination). Be sure to specify the epoch (e.g. 1950, 2000, etc.) for the celestial coordinates you use; (2) specify a positional offset from another target; or (3) specify an area of the sky. When using right ascension (RA) and declination (dec) you must include their uncertainties, using the format RA=+/- or the source of the position. Include proper motion values if available. A suggested source for fixed targets is Volumes 1 & 2 of the Sky Catalogue 2000.0 by Alan Hirshfield and Roger W. Sinnott available from Sky Publishing Corp., P.O. Box 9111, Belmont, MA 02178-9111.

6. Primary Observations
Since all of the science instruments (SIs) are permanently mounted at the telescope focal plane, it will routinely be possible to operate two (or more) SI's simultaneously, thereby increasing the scientific productivity of the HST. Primary observations are defined as those that determine the telescope pointing. They will always have priority over parallel observations made with the second SI.

Most primary observations will be scheduled at times that will provide maximum efficiency. However, special considerations regarding scheduling and execution of observations may come into play under the circumstances described in the next two sections.

6.1 Time-critical Observations
Time-critical observations are observations that require a specific time or date, or within a range of specific dates. Time critical events that occur over time intervals short compared to the orbital period of HST (such as occultations or eclipses of very short-period binary stars) introduce an additional complication because it will not be known, until a few weeks in advance, where the HST will be in its orbit at the time of the event, and hence whether it will occur above or below the spacecraft's horizon. As a result, critical observations should be avoided if possible.

6.2 Real-time Observations
Real-time observations will be made for the following purposes:
  1. Interactive target acquisitions, either with the same SI to be used for the scientific observations, or with a camera followed by an offset to the required SI.

  2. Real-time evaluations and reconfiguration. In this case the amateur will examine the incoming data form the standpoint of its utility in relation to the SI modes, filters, gratings, etc., in real time, within a preplanned set of options.
Availability of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) limits real-time interactions to about 20% of HST observations. Hence, real-time interactions will be a limited resource, and the scientific and operations justification for such interactions must be clearly presented by the amateur.

6.3 Parallel Observations
Parallel observations are observations made with a second SI while another SI is carrying out a primary observation. However, the instruments are positioned so that they cannot look at the same point source at the same time. Use the field diagram in Figure 6 of the enclosed Chaisson-Villard article, or Figure 11-1, page 14, of the enclosed excerpt from the professional "Call for Proposals" to determine if your target would lie in the field of view of another SI (WF/PC2, FOC, FOS, GHRS, FGS).

6.4 Science Instruments on HST
Science Instrument (SI) Description WF/PC2 Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 FOC Faint Object Camera (f/48, f/96) FOS Faint Object Spectrograph GHRS Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph FGS Fine Guidance System COSTAR Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement

6.5 Archival Research
The scientific data collected by the HST will be archived at STScI so that they will be available for scientific research by any interested scientist. The amateur is encouraged to use this mode of research since it does not require any telescope time and could offer an excellent opportunity for scientific research. A separate Call for Archival Proposals will be issued by the STScI at some time in the future.

7. Completed Proposal
Seven complete paper copies of the proposal, including two 4" x 9.5" (or larger) self-addressed stamped envelopes, must be postmarked by April 30, 1995 and sent to: HST Proposal
Astronomical League Rt 2

Note: Questions about the proposal process, the HST observatory, or its scientific instruments should be directed to the AAWG via the Astronomical League, not to STScI.

Proposal package cover page follows:

Seven complete paper copies of this package, including two 4" x 9 1/2" (or larger) self-addressed stamped envelopes, must be postmarked by April 30, 1995 and sent to:
HST Proposal
Astronomical League

  1. Proposal Title:

  2. Principal Investigator (PI):

  3. Address: e-mail:

  4. City: State: Zip Code:

  5. Telephone: day ( ) night ( ) FAX ( )

  6. Co-investigator: Telephone: ( )

  7. Scientific Category: (Select One)
    ____Solar System
    ____Variable Stars (including novae & supernovae)
    ____Interstellar Medium
    ____Stellar Astrophysics
    ____Stellar Populations
    ____Galaxies and Clusters of Galaxies
    ____Quasars and Active Galactic Nuclei
    ____Other (describe nature and characteristics of object below)

  8. Abstract (please confine to this space)

  9. Scientific Keywords:

  10. Estimated observing time: hours (primary)

  11. Number of targets: (primary) (parallel)

  12. Circle instrument(s) requested: WF/PC-2 FOC FOS GHRS FGS

  13. Special scheduling requests:
    ____Real-time observation
    ____Uninterrupted long exposure
    ____Time-critical observations
    ____Special orientations

  14. Signed Date
The AAWG reserves the right to determine the eligibility of any proposer.

Instructions for Completing the Proposal Cover Page

Item 1
Give a concise title for your proposal using key words (see attached list).

Item 2
Name of the principal investigator (PI).

Item 3
Address of the PI. If available, include e-mail address.

Item 4
City, State, using two letter postal designation (e.g. California-CA, Oklahoma-OK, etc.) and zip code.

Item 5
Provide both day and night telephone numbers of the PI.

Item 6
Name and telephone of co-investigator, if any. Additional co-investigators and their telephone numbers may be listed on the reverse of the cover page.

Item 7
Select the most appropriate scientific category for your proposal from those listed.

Item 8
Provide a concise abstract for the proposed observations. Include WHAT, WHY, and HOW for the main scientific goals and justify the necessity of the HST time. This is only an abstract; your detailed proposal should be typewritten on the appropriate form included with this package and returned with this proposal form.

Item 9
Provide the most appropriate scientific key words to describe your project in order of priority (see attached list of key words).

Item 10
Give the total observing time (hours) requested for primary and/or parallel observations. For long-term projects, give the total time requested for the full duration of the project. It is understood the amateur may not have sufficient information to determine realistic exposure and observing times.

Item 11
Give the total number of primary and/or parallel targets requested.

Item 12
Circle the instrument(s) which will be used in your project.

Item 13
List special constraints relevant to your observations. (Real-time observations require real-time contact with HST. Time-critical observations are those that must be made at a definite absolute time, or at a definite time interval before or after another exposure. Special orientations of the telescope are considered as time critical observations.)

Item 14
Sign and date your proposal form.
You must send seven copies of your proposal to

HST Proposal
Astronomical League


Please answer the following questions on separate sheets of paper and, if possible, use a word processor (Font = Times, Size = 12), double spacing (20). State the question as shown below before typing a response to each.
  1. Explain in detail WHAT you are proposing to study and the significance of the investigation to the field of astronomy.

  2. What are the specific details of the targets to be studied and the HST instruments and their models to be used? Explain HOW the data from the instrument/mode are required for your investigation. Provide a table with columns as follows: Target Name/ID, Target position, Magnitude (include the wavelength, e.g. B, V, etc), Instrument Mode, Filter or Spectral Range, Number of exposures needed, Comments. Provide a separate table listing only the targets you wish to study and the Exact Positions (Right Ascension and Declination or offset from known target). Specify the epoch (1950, 2000, e.g.). For solar system objects, specify the desired observation dates/times and their time criticality.

  3. Given HST throughput, motion, and pointing constraints, can you show that HST can make the observations your investigation requires? Your proposal must use appropriate wavelengths and avoid time wasted in unnecessary or excessive slewing, and objects too near the Earth, Sun, or Moon. Observations of extremely faint objects, or objects which need to be observed continuously for longer than a half-orbit will need good justification.

  4. Which of HST's unique capabilities are necessary for your investigation and show WHY your study cannot be made with a groundbased telescope? [Note: The unique capabilities of the HST are generally considered to be: (i) low background light and ability to image very faint background objects; (ii) accessibility of the UV in the region of 1000A; (iii) no atmospheric turbulence.]

  5. a. What are your plans for analyzing the data you obtain? You can expect some help from STScI staff where specialized data processing protocols are available and the answers to technical questions are required. b. In performing data analysis on your own, in what medium do you prefer to receive your observations? Hard copy in the form of tables, graphs, or prints of images? If computer-readable, indicate computer system you use and the medium of the data; floppy disk (3.5 or 5.25"), tape, CD-ROM, etc. c. What plans do you have to publish your results? This can include delivered papers, abstracts, or posters. However, you are expected to publish your results and we need to know to which journal(s) or other publications (magazines) you will submit your article. Negative, as will as positive results, contribute to the science and should be reported

  6. Supply a bibliography listing relevant scientific publications that describe your topic. Give the title, author, journal or book, volume number, page, and year of publication. Supply photocopies of the most pertinent, and recent articles with your proposal.



Date of Birth: Place of Birth:

Education: Date School, City, State

High School

Occupation: Current Position:

Brief Career Summary:


Publications (if any):

Have you submitted a proposal to the AAWG in the past? If so, provide the date submitted.




The following is a recommended list of keywords which should be used for the scientific keywords on your proposal cover page (Item 9). These keywords are primarily used for archival catalogues and searches. Make the description as complete and concise as possible. Give any relationship to parent bodies if relevant. Other keywords than those listed below can be used if necessary.
  1. *** SOLAR SYSTEM ***

  2. *** STARS ***



  5. *** MISCELLANEOUS ***