Submitting proposals: is it worth the effort?

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Astronomy, like any other science, works under the system of peer-review. It means that nothing is published in a prestigious journal without having the external examination of at least one specialist in the field, a person who is not connected directly with the research described in the paper. The same system is valid for the observing proposals. Most observatories (at least the important ones) have a panel of experts which read all the submitted proposals and grade them, granting time to the best and feasible ideas. See Franck Marchis’ description about how it works with the European Southern Observatory. The goal is to try to remove subjectivity (difficult, since we are humans) and to make the best out of the available observing time.

So, now to the question formulated in the title…

At least in this occasion I have been lucky, or very good, or the Olympic gods have smiled at my team. In the same day we have received the answer from Calar Alto, La Palma (both in Spain) and Subaru (Hawaii, USA) and we have received a fair amount of nights in this telescopes, including the newest and hopefully most powerful in the optical and near-IR from the ground: the Spanish 10, GTC.
I guess next Fall I will be busy observing…

Yes, it has been worth it.

About dbarrado

Born in Madrid, Spain, David Barrado completed a degree in physics, specializing in astrophysics, at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. At this same university he started work on a doctorate that he would go on to complete at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge (USA). He then spent several years as a post-doctoral researcher at a number of institutes in the United States (including as a Fulbright scholar during his time at CfA), Germany (Max-Planck Institut für Astronomie, in Heidelberg) and Spain (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid). David now works at the European Space Astronomy Center (ESAC, Madrid) as a member of the National Technical Aerospace Institute (INTA), part of the Astrobiology Center (CAB), a combined institute made up of INTA and the Center for Higher Scientific Research (CSIC). With the INTA team he led research on the MIRI, an infrared instrument that will fly with the forthcoming space telescope, the JWST. He has also been involved in the development of a number of other astronomical instruments. For two years he was head of the Stellar and Exoplanets Astrophysics Laboratory, as a member of the CAB, and later Director of the Hispano-German Astronomy Center observatory in Calar Alto for three years. His research interests focus on the properties of stars in open star clusters, as well as detecting and characterizing substellar objects and exoplanets. More generally he has specialized in studying the formation of stars and planetary systems using various observational techniques: from visible light to distant infrared, using images and spectroscopes, via both terrestrial and space telescopes. This observation work has seen him publish close to one hundred and fifty articles in prestigious scientific journals. He also combines his research with tireless outreach activities. With Spanish blog, Cuaderno de Bitacora Estelar (see has a very large audience.

2 Responses to Submitting proposals: is it worth the effort?

  1. Franck Marchis says:

    Congratulation David.
    I had one night at Keck in August. I did not ask for time on any other 8-10m class telescopes this semester. Trying to process my data before getting new ones :-) I will post a discussion about the OPC meeting in a few days. It was interesting…

  2. marie says:


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    Warm Regards Team

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