Target of Opportunity observations with MERLIN

If you want to observe an unpredictable source, such as a nova, while it is doing something interesting, submit a Targets of Opportunity Proposal. Such proposals will be considered by the MERLIN TAG during its normal meetings and the following points should be noted:-

  1. The target list or class of targets should be precisely defined, e.g. 'Galactic X-ray Binary from the following list ...' or 'hitherto unknown X-ray source exhibiting the following characteristics ...' rather than 'X-ray burst'.

  2. The likelihood/rate of events for observation should be estimated.

  3. Usually, 1 - 4 observations of ~12 hr per semester may be requested, for up to 3 semesters.

  4. You should specify what constitutes a trigger.

  5. You should specify what frequencies are useful, and whether a subset of telescopes is useful. If this depends on the object, make sure we can consult you and reach a rapid decision if necessary.

  6. You should only request MERLIN time when MERLIN is the most suitable instrument available. Note, in particular, that the surface brightness should be realistically detectable (this means >>3 sigma if the position is poorly known) and that the position should be within the field of view.

  7. We will accept a trigger from any co-author on the paper; please make sure everyone relevant is included, and that we have their email addresses. If you want to establish an internal order of priority please make sure all the authors know how to follow this.
Please do not hesitate to consult MERLIN staff for clarification.

Please note that it is your responsibility to inform MERLIN ( when a trigger occurs. If we become aware of a potential observation we will attempt to contact you. However if we are unable to contact you, or if the first we hear of an event is some days after its occurence via a separate group requesting Director's Time, the other group may get the time.

We do not automatically observe potential TOOs without a trigger contact because you might be using another instrument, or for some other reason not want to use up your MERLIN time. In addition, you may have specific observing requirements.