The NIRSpec Fixed Slits Spectroscopy mode has several dither and nod pattern options available for observations. These can be used to improve spatial or spectral sampling and remove astrophysical background flux.
The NIRSpec fixed slits (FS) spectroscopy mode has several dither and nod options available. In FS mode, the dithers are small-scale sub-pixel (<0.1") offsets of the target position, which will be used to mitigate detector effects, help remove cosmic rays, and particularly improve spectral and/or spatial sampling. The nods in FS mode are larger offsets used to subtract nearby background flux. As a result, the nod options are best used for targets that are not significantly spatially extended on the scale of the offset. The FS mode nods provide the primary offset positions along the spectral slits, and the dither options provide optional subpixel offsets to improve sampling. The nod positions and sub-pixel dither offsets can be used separately or together. Table 1 and Figure 1 show a summary view of these nod and dither options and the ways they can be combined.
Table 1. Options for the NIRSpec FS offsets
2-, 3-, or 5-position nods are available.
The PRIMARY NOD POSITIONS option input may take the following values:
There will be one primary position along the slit.
|TWO||There will be 2 primary positions along the slit.|
|THREE||There will be 3 primary positions along the slit.|
|FIVE||There will be 5 primary positions along the slit.|
The primary nod positions will be defined to optimize throughput based on the FS hardware characteristics. The precise positions for each nod are slit-dependent.
Small-scale offsets in the spectral (dispersion) direction, spatial (cross-dispersion) direction, or both the spectral and spatial directions are available. These small scale offsets are the same for all slits, and are fixed offsets from the primary nod positions.
The SUBPIXEL DITHER option input may take the following values:
|No sub-pixel dithering is performed.|
|SPECTRAL||Three spectral dither positions are defined for each primary nod position along the slit.|
|SPATIAL||Two spatial dither positions are defined for each primary nod position along the slit.|
|BOTH||Four dither positions are defined for each primary nod position along the slit.|
Note that spectral offsets will decenter the source in the slit in the dispersion direction and therefore incur a change in slit losses, which are wavelength dependent. All offered dither options will be calibrated, but this calibration will be more challenging for SPECTRAL and BOTH dither patterns.
Options selected for dithers and nods determine the number of exposures that are acquired, as shown in Figure 1. Any combination of primary nod positions and sub-pixel dithers can be selected. Table 2 lists the specific slit-dependent primary nod positions. Table 3 lists the relative offsets with respect to the primary nod positions for the subpixel dithers.