Applying for time on the LCO network of telescopes


Instructions for Australian astronomers to apply through ANU for observing time on the worldwide telescope network of the Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO)

As a host institution for the Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) global network of telescopes, ANU is entitled to a share of the network's observing time, which it is now making available to all Australian astronomers.

Applying for LCO time

The closing date for observing proposals for the 2024B semester (from 1 August 2024 to 31 January 2025) will be 12noon AEST, Tuesday, 11 June 2024.  

There is no limitation on the fraction of time allocated to proposals led by Australians outside of ANU. However, under the ongoing ANU host agreement with LCO, at least half of the overall Australian time will consist of contributions to LCO Key Projects (see ). Thus, proposals to support the new LCO Key Projects are strongly encouraged, but will be assessed on scientific merit like any other proposal.

Based on recent weather trends, LCO has revised the amount of available time. ANU's time for 2024B will be 75 hours on the 2m telescopes, 225 hours on the 1m telescopes, and 200 hours on the 0.4m telescopes. Note that this access can utilise any of the two 2m telescopes, thirteen 1m telescopes, or ten 0.4m telescopes in the entire LCO global network.

For the 2024B semester, LCO has completed the replacement of the 0.4m network with new Planewave telescopes and QHY600 cameras. Please find further details, exposure time calculators, and target visibility calculators in the official LCO CfP at

Proposals may now ask to be considered for long-term status, with allocations extending up to 3 consecutive semesters. If requesting this, be sure to list the required number of observing hours in each mode with each instrument on the cover sheet. The ANU TAC will make the final determination about long-term status.

Proposed observations can use any of the three observing modes: standard queue-scheduled, Time Critical, and Rapid Response. All proposals that request Time Critical or Rapid Response time will be technically reviewed by LCO. The proposals must explicitly justify the need for TC/RR time. LCO will work with the PIs to make any changes to the queue/TC/RR allocations if it is determined that the science can be done with less restrictive scheduling modes. Proposals lacking justification will automatically get standard queue-mode observations.

Proposals will be assessed on scientific merit by the ANU TAC, taking into account that the Australian PI must be a significant team member. Note that this is not a call for Key Projects and any proposal that appears to compete with a Key Project would need to justify how it is different and why it does not conflict with the Key Project goals. Information on the current set of Key Projects can be found at

A maximum 3-page scientific and technical justification should be sent to

In addition, list on a separate page:

  • Proposers and institutions.
  • E-mail address of the PI (an LCO-registered e-mail, if available).
  • Whether the data is an important part of a PhD thesis.
  • Requested telescope(s) and instrument(s).
  • Requested number of (integer) hours in each observing mode (queue/TC/RR) for each instrument, and minimum useful allocation.
  • Whether you want this to be considered for long-term status, and if so, for how many semesters (up to 3) and for how many hours in each observing mode with each instrument in each semester.
  • An estimate of how much time is required beyond this semester.

Please contact Christopher Onken if you have any questions about LCO, or ANU's access to the network.

Related links

LCO Homepage