MIRI MRS Dedicated Sky Observations

Dedicated sky observations for the JWST MIRI's medium-resolution spectrometer (MRS) will obtain a reference sky background in cases that require larger offsets than possible with standard MRS dithering.

See also: MIRI Medium Resolution Spectroscopy

Depending on the science target, it may be necessary to get a reference sky observation with the medium-resolution spectrometer (MRS) in a location further away from the science target than possible with standard MRS dithering. For example, if an extended object or group of objects filled the entire MRS field of view, an offset sky observation would be necessary in order to reliably measure the background signal.  Similarly, if an extended source dither pattern was specified it would be necessary to observe a dedicated sky pointing since the total dither offset will be insufficient for pairwise background subtraction.

Obtaining a sky background

There are two options for obtaining a sky background: (1) use the offset background option in the Astronomer's Proposal Tool (APT) or (2) create a hand-built mosaic.

Use the offset background option

The checkbox on the APT MRS template within APT (in the Fixed Targets form) is used to specify that the object requires a companion background observation and allows the user to select a sky target from the target list.  This sky target may be created in the usual manner as if it were an astronomical object, and should have an observation of its own (note that Acq Targetshould be set to NONEin the observation form for dedicated background observations).

In the Special Requirements section of the science target observation form, the science target and background target observations may then be linked together as a non-interruptible sequence by grouping the observation timings so that the background is obtained as soon as possible after the last exposure on the target.  A to-be-determined upper limit will be imposed on the maximum allowable offset between the science and background targets.

Hand-built mosaic

The template allows an N × N mosaic to be specified. A 2-position mosaic, one position on the target and one on the background sky, can also satisfy the background requirement.  However, using the offset background option is preferable since it more clearly indicates which of the mosaic tiles is the science target and which is the background.



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