DECam PropIDs & Special Cases

In order to observe with DECam, each observation must be associated with a defined proposal, which is identified by its proposal ID (propID).  The propIDs for DECam observations are maintained in a local DECam propID databse on the SISPI cluster (currently on server3).

PropIDs are usually assigned and managed through the TAC process and the proposal database.  PropIDs have a prefix from the semester that the proposal was received, even if observations don't start until a later semester.  Since most proposals are only for observations during the current semester, most PropIDs are usually assigned for one semester.  For survey proposals or other projects that cover multiple semesters, the propID is from the semester for which the proposal was received.  

DECam propIDs are assigned "start-date" and "end-date" attributes, which determine the validity of the propID for a given date.  CTIO's current implementation (policy) is that normal propIDs are valid for the whole semester in which they are scheduled, not only for the nights that are scheduled for that proposal.  This allows the propID to be used at any time during the current semester, in case there are observations made before or after the scheduled dates (useful, for example, in the case of a few additional images taken during engineering to complement the scheduled nights).  NOTE: propIDs generally expire at the end of each semester.  If one needs to take data for a propID from a previous semester, please send email to with a request to extend the end-date of the prop-id.


Special PropIDs

Several DECam propIDs have been associated with special activities, most involving DECam maintenance and calibrations.  Here is a list of the special propIDs currently in use:


  • 2013A-9999 : DECam Engineering (sent to DTS, also sent to DES), NO pipeline processing
  • 2012B-0005 : DECam Calibration System - DECal
  • 2012B-9993 : DECam Test - NOT sent to DTS
  • 2014A-9000 : Shared Standards/Calibrations/Other (zero proprietary period)
  • 2012B-0001 : DES

There are other special propIDs that have been assigned in the past, but that have now expired and are not in use.  A list of several key expired propIDs is available at the bottom of this page for reference.

Requesting a PropID for DECam

PropIDs are usually automatically assigned through the NOAO proposal process.  PropIDs for proposals scheduled in the current and past semesters can be found on the CTIO telescope schedules page,

If a scheduled DECam observation does not have a propID assigned through the normal proposal process (e.g., DD program, special activity, etc), then one must be assigned manually.  In order to do this, please send an email to providing the following information

  • PI
  • Title
  • Observing Semester
  • Abstract (Optional)
  • DTS Queue (Optional; defaults to "decam", with no copy going to DES -- NOT CURRENTLY IN USE)

The propID will then be entered into the DECam propID database and the NOIRLab proposal database and telescope schedule.  When the propID is added to the telescope schedule, the Archive database will pick it up and be ready to receive and archive the data.  NOTE: if the propID is not added to the telescope schedule (for example, if it is only for an hour or two of observations) then SDM must be notified and the propID must be added manually to the Archive DB.

Expired Special PropIDs

These propIDs were used for special purposes, but have now expired and are no longer usable.

  • 2012B-0002 : DES SN
  • 2012B-9996 : DES DC7
  • 2012B-9997 : DECam Test
  • 2012B-0004 : DECAM SV SN
  • 2012B-9998 : DECam Test
  • 2012B-9992 : DECam Fermi
  • 2009T-0458 : Pre-Commissioning
  • 2012B-9999 : Commissioning
  • 2012B-0003 : DES SV