ATNF Telescope Applications

All telescope applications to the ATNF must be submitted using OPAL.

(Exceptions are applications for Director's Time and Target of Opportunity proposals.)

OPAL Registration

We recommend that all users of OPAL register with the system as this will allow greater use of the facilities provided by OPAL.

If you have not previously registered as an OPAL user then go to the OPAL and click on the OPAL link to Register. Enter your name, affiliation and a password for OPAL access. OPAL will register you straight away.

Before you Apply




  • See the latest information on the current status of the ATNF telescopes.

    For the Compact Array, check which configurations will be scheduled in the observing semester requested. Note that different configurations are scheduled at different times. If your proposal requires more than one configuration then it may be necessary to make several observing trips and/or to submit more than one application for telescope time.

  • For Compact Array and Mopra (MOPS) proposals check the Australia Telescope Online Archive. Some Parkes spectral line data is also now available through the ATOA. For Parkes proposals also see the Parkes Positions Database. Observing time will not be granted if the observations requested already exist and can be accessed through the archives.
  • For ASKAP Guest Science Projects, intending proposers should read the instructions here.

  • See the ATNF Data Access conditions. Data from ATNF facilities are normally available to other users 18 months after the end of observations.
  • For technical information refer to the ATNF Telescope Documentation.


  • Applications for major surveys or projects that will require large amounts of time, with either the Parkes radio telescope, or the Australia Telescope Compact Array, are welcome. See the information on ATNF Large Projects.


  • If you wish to submit a Target of Opportunity or NAPA proposal then refer to the ToO and NAPA Information.


  • Prepare and submit your application using OPAL, as described below.

Writing a Proposal Application

For more extensive information on preparing and submitting proposals please see the OPAL Users Guide.

A proposal application to the ATNF will, in general, consist of three separate files, a cover sheet , an observations table and a science case. In some cases the Time Assignment Committee may grant a 'pre-graded' (continuing) status to a proposal. If this has been granted then the proposers need only submit the cover sheet and observations table. For pre-graded proposals, the grade awarded in a previous semester is carried over to the current semester.

Cover Sheet

To create or edit a cover sheet or observations table, click on the OPAL link to the Cover sheet editor. You may then create a new cover sheet and load and edit a previously saved cover sheet. When the cover sheet is ready, save it to your local disk.

Observations table

To create or edit an observations table, click on the OPAL link to the Observations table editor. You may then create a new observations table, or load and edit a previously saved source list or observations table. When the observations table is ready, save it to your local disk.

The Science Case

The science case may be written in any preferred format but must be converted to a pdf file before submission. OPAL is not used to write the science scase but is used to submit the pdf file with the proposal cover sheet and observations tables.

For information on the Science Case Requirements and Recommendations, and on working with pdf files see the OPAL Users Guide


Proposal Submission

During the applications period before a proposal deadline, any member of a proposal team, who is a registered OPAL user, may submit a proposal to the ATNF. Once a proposal has been submitted, it may be updated or withdrawn, by any team member.

To submit a proposal to the ATNF, first make sure that the files for the cover sheet, observations table and science case are ready. Then click on the OPAL link to Preview or submit a proposal. Use the browse buttons to load in the three files and then click on the submit button.

Following the submission of a proposal, an automated email acknowledgement will be sent to all authors on the proposal with valid email addresses. Authors may choose whether to receive email notifications of proposal updates by using the toggle option on the 'list and access' proposals page.