MAGIC observation proposals


The MAGIC collaboration encourages individual external scientists to propose observations to be performed with the MAGIC telescopes. Observation time will be granted by the Time Allocation Committee based on scientific merit. The deadline to submit the MAGIC proposals is October 31st at 23:00 CET. The observation cycle spans from 2020 February 10th to 2021 January 25th.
MAGIC is not an open observatory and, because of the complexity in the analysis of the data (which requires specific expertise and tools that are not publicly available), the external scientists will need the help of some members from the MAGIC team, who will be supporting their projects throughout the entire procedure of proposal submission, and (if the observation time is granted) data reduction and publication.
The details on the authorship of the publications should be discussed and agreed before the submission of the observation proposal, with the general constraint that the full MAGIC collaboration should be included in the authors' list of the publications reporting these data results for the first time.


The performance of the MAGIC telescopes during regular dark-time observations is reported in full detail in Aleksic et al 2016, while the performance of MAGIC during moon-light is reported in Ahnen et al 2017.
The main performance plots are reported in this page, and a few key numbers are given below:

  • Sensitivity for point-like sources (<0.1 deg): 0.8% the flux of the Crab nebula above 0.2 TeV in 50 hours of observation (using Sigma Li&Ma 1983, and 3 background regions), which is about 5% the flux of the Crab nebula in 1 hour. The numbers from the differential sensitivity plot can be retrieved from this page.
  • Sensitivity for extended sources (>0.1 deg): the sensitivity of MAGIC reduces with the source extension approximately as sqrt((0.1deg)^2 + (Source_Radius)^2), and the analysis becomes difficult (yet not impossible) for extensions larger than 0.6 degrees radius.
  • Analysis energy threshold: ~75 GeV x pow(cos(Zenith_Angle),-2.3) for a Crab-like spectrum. We note that, for strong and/or steep sources, it is possible to measure gamma rays below such threshold, as shown in Ahnen et al 2015a and Ahnen et al 2015b, where spectra starting at 40-50 GeV are reported.
  • Energy resolution: about 20% per incoming gamma ray.
  • Angular resolution: better than 0.1 deg per incoming gamma ray.


The macro takes a given spectral shape and, using the published MAGIC performance described above, estimates what kind of signal can be expected after a given amount of observation time. The spectral shape and the amount of time for the observation is set inside the macro (see basic settings inside the macro).
Two versions are available: ROOT-based and Python-based. For detailed description and usage see the header of the files.
ROOT version: mss.cpp
Python version:
In case you would like to use the results of this macro in a scientific publication, we would like to ask to cite Aleksic, J., et al., 2016, Astroparticle Physics, 72, 76 , which is the publication reporting the performance of the MAGIC telescopes.


The amount of observations performed yearly with the MAGIC telescopes are about 1000 hours, depending on weather conditions and technical access during that year. Additionally, moon observations can add up to 400 hours.
The amount of time requested in single MAGIC proposals (for a 1-year cycle) spans from 10-20 hours to 100-150 hours (typically < 50h). The longer the observation request, the higher the expected scientific merit of such observations. Requests for multiyear observations can also be done, but they will be re-evaluated after each year.
The visibility of the source from the MAGIC site can be evaluated with this custom-made source visibility tool. Other publicly available visibility tools can be found at the TeV Catalog and Isaac Newton group of telescopes.

The deadline for proposal submission is October 31st at 23:00 CET. In any case, we encourage external scientists to contact the MAGIC physics coordinator ( preferably no later than 3 weeks before the deadline of the call. The physics coordinator will check if the proposed observations have already been performed, or are planned as part of a running project within the MAGIC collaboration. The topic and the specifics of the observations should be examined and discussed with scientists from the MAGIC collaboration well before the proposal submission deadline.

Though a XMM-MAGIC joint programme, the MAGIC Time Allocation Committee from Cycle-15 may award up to 42 hours (150 ks) of XMM time.

The submission of the proposals for MAGIC observations is performed through the MAGIC Proposal Submission System