JWST ETC Backgrounds
The JWST ETC incorporates the JWST backgrounds in the calculation of signal to noise for a specified exposure time. JWST backgrounds vary with position on the sky and time of the year. The user may use a dated or dateless background option for a given celestial position.
Video Tutorial: ETC Backgrounds
Backgrounds in the JWST Exposure Time Calculator (ETC) are obtained using the Backgrounds Model Generator (BMG), and account for the various. This includes the in-field components from the zodiacal cloud and the Milky Way, out-of-field stray light, and thermal self-emission from the telescope (which dominates the background at wavelengths >15 μm). that contribute to the JWST background
The JWST ETC calculates backgrounds for a given celestial position. The J2000 RA and Dec for the position in the sky can be provided in either of the following formats: "hh mm ss.s ±dd mm ss.s" or "hh:mm:ss.s ±dd:mm:ss".
JWST ETC Reports provide the "Input Background Surface Brightness" (in MJy/steradian), as well as the "Total Background Flux in Extraction Aperture" and "Total Sky Background Flux in Extraction Aperture" (both in units of e–/s). The "Total Sky Background Flux in Extraction Aperture" can also be seen graphically in the ApBackground tab in the Plots pane (see JWST ETC Images and Plots). The computed background spectrum can be downloaded as a FITS table as described in the JWST ETC Downloads article.
The JWST ETC can be used to check whether the observations will be background limited, and whether the background-limited special requirement should be specified in the JWST Astronomers Proposal Tool (APT). The procedure to determine whether the observations are background-limited is described in the article on Background-Limited Observations.
The default background position is RA=00:00:00.00, Dec=00:00:00.0. A list of other potentially useful positions are included in Table 1. This table also includes visibility windows for each of the positions in 2021 to avoid receiving an error message in the ETC. These dates depend on the exact orbit of JWST about L2 and so are subject to change once on-orbit. Users are advised to use theto determine the dates when a specified celestial position is observable.
Table 1. List of background positions
|North Ecliptic Pole (NEP)||18:00:00.00||66:33:38.5||Year-round|
|South Ecliptic Pole (NEP)||06:00:00.00||-66:33:38.5||Year-round|
|Hubble Deep Field North (HDF-N)||12:36:49.50||62:12:58.0||11/11-5/29|
|Hubble Deep Field South (HDF-S)||22:32:56.00||-60:33:00.0||4/25-11/12|
|Hubble Ultra-Deep Field (HUDF)||03:32:39.00||-27:47:29.0|
|North Celestial Pole (NCP)||00:00:00.00||90:00:00.0||9/9-4/2|
|South Celestial Pole (SCP)||00:00:00.00||-90:00:00.0||3/7-10/6|
|Galactic Center||17:45:40.04||-29:00:28.1||3/12-5/2, 8/3-9/25|
|Kepler FOV Center (Primary mission)||19:22:40.00||44:30:00.0||4/14-11/12|