All aspects of the design and operations plan for the TMT Observatory are based on science cases. Each individual science case has a corresponding set of target properties, instrument configuration and observation information that describes specifically how each science case would be carried out, i.e. what observations will be needed to tackle the problem. The summation of all of these sets of technical information is used to identify and prioritize instrument capabilities, define observatory operating modes and all of the required observatory infrastructure.
The science cases and the corresponding technical information need periodic updates. To facilitate these updates we have a Science Case Development Tool that allows individuals and groups of collaborating astronomers to develop and submit science cases comprising a detailed scientific justification and a corresponding set of technical information.
Periodically, calls will go out, via the TMT International Science Development Teams for new and updated science case and technical information. All of this information is collected together in a consistent and systematic manner using the science case development tool, which is somewhat similar to an observing proposal tool.
New users go to the Science Case tool and will be required to set up an account. After submitting their name and affiliation they will be sent an email that links to their account page where they will set a password and identify as being interested in one or more of the science areas represented by the TMT International Science Development Teams. This account will allow a user to develop science cases independently within their science areas of interest and to see other science cases. A user can request to collaborate on a science case with other users. A user can manage and submit their finished science cases and manage collaborators on their science cases.
Science case development involves;
- development of the scientific justification using an interface that enables text, tables and figures to be input
- and the technical description of one or more sets of observations for that case by selecting and inputing various quantitative and technical fields relating to choices of instrument modes