NIRCam Example Science Programs

NIRCam example programs are available to walk users through all elements of a JWST observing program, from posing a question to identifying an instrument-specific mode optimized to answer that question.

Dated material

These example programs were constructed pre-launch, and details may be out of date with actual observatory performance. However, they still provide useful examples for training purposes.

Please refer to JWST Example Science Programs for more information.

See also: NIRCam Observing StrategiesMethods and Roadmaps

These examples use Exposure Time Calculator (ETC) simulations to estimate reasonable exposure times, and illustrate how to specify the observations in the Astronomers Proposal Tool (APT).

Here is a list of all NIRCam-related example programs:

JWST proposals require significantly more preparation compared to HST proposals. As part of the single-stream process, JWST proposals will require a detailed technical justification and, in most cases, a complete Astronomers Proposal Tool (APT) program.

While APT provides templates for some of the most common observing modes, some observing scenarios are more complicated. The science use cases listed above provide a guide to crafting the technical aspects to your proposal, including how to use the Exposure Time Calculator (ETC)  and APT.

Accessing ETC workbooks and APT files for the example science programs

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

Each example science program has an attendant ETC workbook and APT file that can be used for reference as you work through each example. The relevant ETC workbooks are available within the ETC itself. A tab in the ETC GUI allows access to a drop-down menu that shows the example science program workbooks with the same titles and reference numbers shown in Table 1. Select the example workbook of interest and add it to your personal list of ETC workbooks to access the contents as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Accessing ETC workbooks for example science programs

In the ETC GUI, select the Example Science Program Workbooks tab (arrow 1) and then select an example workbook of interest (in this example, #22). That workbook then becomes available for your use, but is assigned a unique new ID number (arrow 2). Once you load this notebook, you can read it to follow along with the example program description, or edit it further as you like.

Likewise, the filled-out APT files for each example science program are available to users within APT and can be loaded as follows: from the top File menu, select the tab for JWST Example Science Programs and choose the APT file with the same title and reference number as the program you are interested in. (See Figure 2.) 

Figure 2. Accessing APT example science program files in APT

From APT, you can retrieve the APT files for any example science program by accessing the top File pull-down menu and selecting JWST Example Science Programs. Then, slide right to select a category and a particular program of interest. Note that, unlike the ETC case, APT treats these example programs as if they are previously accepted programs. While you can edit them to experiment, you should use the Copy and Paste functions in the Edit menu to transfer any work you want to keep to a new proposal file.

Notable updates
Originally published