MIRI Dithering

The JWST Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) provides dithering capabilities for the imaging, low-resolution spectroscopymedium-resolution spectroscopy, and coronagraphic imaging for optimal sampling, bad pixel mitigation, and background subtraction.

When using MIRI, dithering is required to achieve accurate photometry and to provide superior sampling (Arendt et al. 2000). Dither patterns for MIRI have been designed to account for the fact that telescope motions larger than ~20" typically result in new guide star acquisitions and larger observing overheads. The fine steering mirror (FSM) can be used for subpixel (≤50 mas) offsets, which will be used primarily for coronagraphy. Larger dithers are accomplished by moving JWST.

Dithers and mosaics are distinct in terms of operational ordering. All dither positions must be executed before filter changes may be executed. All filter changes are executed before proceeding to the next tile in a mosaic. 

Words in bold are GUI menus/
panels or data software packages; 
bold italics are buttons in GUI
tools or package parameters.

MIRI-specific patterns can be implemented in the Astronomer's Proposal Tool (APT) for:


Arendt, R. G., et al., 2000, ApJ, 536, 500
Dithering Strategies for Efficient Self-Calibration of Imaging Arrays

Notable updates

  • Clarified coronagraphic dithering
Originally published