You have been using the french telescopes in the recent past, and we are proud of this international interest for our installations, which shows that they are still able to provide good scientific data.
However, we have to inform you that the status of these instruments and their access will be modified very soon.
During our colloquium on the future directions for french Astronomy
held in march 1998, it was decided that a financial contribution would
now be required from the observers. The running cost for the observing
nights, instrument maintainance and development will be deleted from
the observatories general budget and will have to be brought by the
Several french thematic committees covering most astronomical themes (planetology, stellar physics, interstellar medium, galaxies, cosmology) already at work for other purpose, will be allowed to distribute a given amount of money for the observing proposals they want to support. Only the french teams or observers will be supported this way. The committees will also rate the foreign proposals, but without financing them. So, you will have to pay a fixed amount per observing night.
The new rules for submitting a proposal, as well as the rate per night, will be edited shortly. They should apply starting next semester (i.e. for proposals sent for 1 march 1999). They will be available on the INSU web server, within the CFGT page, at : http://www.insu.cnrs-dir.fr/Documentation/Insu_doc/cfgt_cr.html
We understand very well that these important changes could disturb your observing way. They are however unavoidable in a more and more active competition at the world-wide scale.
We want to start the new procedure at the next call for telescope time. Of course it will have to be adapted if necessary. Therefore your comments and suggestions will be very much appreciated.
Please also make this letter widely available to your colleagues.
Geneviève Debouzy, Directeur-Adjoint de l'INSU
Françoise Crifo, Chargée de mission à l'INSU
Paris, september 29th, 1988