Proc. SPIE. 10698, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2018: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave
KEYWORDS: Signal to noise ratio, Near infrared, Prisms, Data modeling, Sensors, Lamps, Space telescopes, Near infrared spectroscopy, Infrared backgrounds, James Webb Space Telescope, Iterated function systems, Spectral models
The Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) instrument is one of the four scientific instruments aboard the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). NIRSpec can be operated in Multi-Object Spectroscopy (MOS), Fixed-slit Spectroscopy (FS), and Integral Field Spectroscopy (IFS) modes; with spectral resolutions from 100 to 2700. Two of these modes, MOS and IFS, share the same detector real estate and are mutually exclusive. Consequently, the micro-shutters used to select targets in MOS mode must all be closed when observing in IFS mode. However, due to the finite contrast of the micro-shutter array (MSA), some amount of light passes through them even when they are commanded closed. This light creates a low, but potentially significant, parasitic signal, which can affect IFS observations. Here, we present the work carried out to study and model this signal. Firstly, we show the results of an analysis to quantify its levels for all NIRSpec spectral bands and resolution powers. We find a level of parasitic signal that is, in general, lower than 10% of the incident, extended IFS signal. We also show how these results were combined with signal-to-noise considerations to help consolidate the observation strategy for the IFS mode and to prepare guidelines for designing observations. In general, we find that this parasitic signal will be less than the statistical noise of a Zodiacal light exposure up to ~40 groups for the NIRSpec grating configurations, and ~10 groups for the prism configuration. In a second part, we report on the results of our work to model and subtract this signal. We describe the model itself, its derivation, and its accuracy as determined by applying it to ground test data.
The Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) is one of four instruments aboard the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). NIRSpec is developed by ESA with AIRBUS Defence & Space as prime contractor. The calibration of its various observing modes is a fundamental step to achieve the mission science goals and provide users with the best quality data from early on in the mission. Extensive testing of NIRSpec on the ground, aided by a detailed model of the instrument, allow us to derive initial corrections for the foreseeable calibrations. We present a snapshot of the current calibration scheme that will be revisited once JWST is in orbit.
The Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) is one of the four science instruments onboard the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The instrument features a focal plane array (FPA) consisting of two 2048 × 2048 HAWAII-2RG sensor chip assemblies (SCAs) with a cutoff wavelength of approximately 5.3 μm. The detectors are read out via a pair of SIDECAR ASICs. To ensure a stable operating environment and best performance, the FPA is temperature controlled via a dedicated control loop by the NIRSpec focal plane electronics. The targeted in-orbit operating temperature of the NIRSpec FPA is close to 42.8 K. Due to the low background levels that the JWST will provide, most NIRSpec observations of very faint targets will be detector noise limited. Therefore, stringent noise requirements on the detector system were put in place. In order to meet these requirements, NIRSpec offers a dedicated readout mode for its detectors that is called improved reference sampling and subtraction (IRS2 ). In this paper we present the noise performance of the NIRSpec detectors as a function of readout mode and exposure parameters. We find that the NIRSpec detector system meets its stringent noise requirement of 6 electrons total noise in a ∼ 1000 second exposure. We also highlight the types and effects of different kinds of bad pixels that are present in the detectors in small numbers.
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is frequently referred to as the follow-on mission to the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The “Webb”, as it is often called, will be the biggest space telescope ever built and it will lead to astounding scientific breakthroughs. The observatory is currently scheduled for launch in 2020 from Kourou, French Guyana by an ESA provided Ariane 5 rocket. The Observatory houses four scientific instruments. One of them is NIRSpec, the multi-object Near Infrared Spectrograph, built for ESA by Airbus Defence and Space in Germany. After the JWST Optical telescope Element (OTE) integration and testing was completed in early 2016, the Integrated Science Instruments Module (ISIM) was integrated to the OTE in May 2016. The complete system of OTE and ISIM, now called OTIS, then successfully went through an acoustic and vibration test campaign at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). After this, the OTIS system was shipped to the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, TX, where a final 100+ days lasting cryogenic vacuum test was conducted inside the famous Thermal Chamber A. This paper presents NIRSpec’s hardware status and some preliminary test results from the OTIS test campaign.
JWST/NIRSpec will include the first space-borne multi-object spectrograph, comprising a micro-shutter array (MSA) of a quarter of a million closable apertures that can be individually addressed to select up to a couple of hundred objects within a ~3.2x3.4 arcmin field of view. Although more than ~85% of the unvignetted shutters are fully operational, the high degree of mechanical movement combined with complex circuitry on a small scale, inevitably leads to some non-operable shutters. In this paper we present an overview of the operability assessment concept for the MSA, employed during both ground tests and in flight. We describe the procedures used to detect, mitigate against, and even repair the non-operable shutters, and show the effect upon the multiplexing capability and output data from NIRSpec. We also present the operability trending results from ground tests, and discuss the probable impact on nominal operations after launch.
The NIRSpec instrument of JWST can be operated in multi-object (MOS), long-slit, and integral field mode with spectral resolutions from 100 to 2700. Its MOS mode uses about a quarter of a million individually addressable mini-slits for object selection, covering a field of view of 9 square-arcminute. We have developed a procedure to optimize a parametric model of the instrument that provides the basis for the extraction of wavelength calibrated spectra from NIRSpec data, from any of the apertures and for all the modes. Here, we summarize the steps undertaken to optimize the instrument model parameters using the data acquired during the latest cryo-vacuum campaign of the JWST Integrated Science Instrument Module, recently carried out at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The calibrated parametric model is able to reproduce the spatial and spectral position of the input spectra with an intrinsic accuracy (1-sigma, RMS) ~ 1/10 of a pixel in spatial and spectral direction for all the modes. The overall wavelength calibration accuracy (RMS) of the model as measured on the extracted spectra is better than 1/20 of a resolution element for all of the grating-based spectral modes and at the level of 1/14 of a resolution element for the prism. These results are well within the allocations for the model in the overall spatial and spectral calibration budget of NIRSpec.
The Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) is one of the four instruments on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) which is scheduled for launch in 2018. NIRSpec is developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) with Airbus Defense and Space Germany as prime contractor. The instrument offers seven dispersers covering the wavelength range from 0.6 to 5.3 micron with resolutions from R ∼ 100 to R ∼ 2700. NIRSpec will be capable of obtaining spectra for more than 100 objects simultaneously using an array of micro-shutters. It also features an integral field unit with 3” x 3” field of view and a range of slits for high contrast spectroscopy of individual objects and time series observations of e.g. transiting exoplanets. NIRSpec is in its final flight configuration and underwent cryogenic performance testing at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Winter 2015/16 as part of the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM). We present the current status of the instrument and also provide an update on NIRSpec performances based on results from the ISIM level test campaign.
The Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) onboard the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will be the
first space-borne Multi-Object Spectrograph (MOS), comprising a quarter of a million individually addressable
microshutters to allow simultaneous observation of ∼100 targets. We present the strategy for flat-fielding the
NIRSpec MOS, correcting for the combined effects of the telescope and instrument throughput as well as the
detector response. With a highly configurable shutter array, a novel approach is required to ensure that flat-
field reference observations do not significantly impact telescope efficiency. We envisage a two-step strategy: 1)
Creation of a three-dimensional master flat-field reference (two spatial dimensions, one wavelength) from a small
set of well-designed calibration data; 2) Correction of any data frame using a two-dimensional flat-field generated
on-the-fly, for that specific MOS configuration, from the master.
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), with its unprecedented sensitivity, will provide a unique set of tools for the study of transiting exoplanets and their atmospheres. The Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) is one of four scientific instruments on JWST and offers a high-contrast aperture-spectroscopy mode developed specifically for exoplanet observations.
Here we present the NIRSpec Exoplanet Exposure Time Calculator (NEETC) software, an exposure time calculator optimized to evaluate the signal-to-noise ratio and simulate spectra for observations of transiting exoplanets. The NEETC is being developed to help the NIRSpec instrument team, and ultimately future JWST users, to fully investigate NIRSpec’s observation modes and the feasibility of exoplanet observations. We give examples of how the NEETC can be used to prepare observations, and present results highlighting the capabilities and limitations of NIRSpec.
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), scheduled for launch in 2018, promises to revolutionize observational
astronomy, due to its unprecedented sensitivity at near and mid-infrared wavelengths. Following launch, a ~6 month
long commissioning campaign aims to verify the observatory performance. A key element in this campaign is the
verification and early calibration of the four JWST science instruments, one of which is the Near-Infrared Spectrograph
(NIRSpec). This paper summarizes the objectives of the NIRSpec commissioning campaign, and outlines the sequence
of activities needed to achieve these objectives.