Step-by-Step ETC Guide for NIRCam Deep Field Imaging with MIRI Imaging Parallels

This walk-through of the JWST Exposure Time Calculator (ETC) demonstrates how to select exposure parameters for Example Science Program #22: NIRCam Deep Field Imaging with MIRI Imaging Parallels.

On this page

Main article: NIRCam Deep Field Imaging with MIRI Imaging Parallels, JWST ETC Exposure Time Calculator Overview
See also: Video Tutorials

To achieve the goals of this example science program, we will use the ETC to compute signal-to-noise ratios (S/N) for a = 8 galaxy and a = 1.5 galaxy in all of the desired filters. Exposure times are determined by working iteratively with both the ETC and APT to define the observations. See the companion APT article for this science program: Step-by-Step APT Guide for NIRCam Deep Field Imaging with MIRI Imaging Parallels.

The ETC workbook associated with this Example Science Program is called "#22: NIRCam Deep Field Imaging with MIRI Imaging Parallels" and can be selected from the Get a Copy of an Example Science Program dropdown on the ETC Workbooks page. The nomenclature and reported SNR values in this article are based on ETC v. 1.4. There may be subtle differences if using a different version of ETC.



Define Scene and Sources

Main article: JWST ETC Scenes and Sources Page Overview
See also: JWST ETC Defining a New Source, JWST ETC Source Spectral Energy Distribution

In the "Scene and Sources" tab, you can edit the sources within your scene. In the "Scene Editor" box, there are tabs for setting the source continuum, shape, and flux renormalization. Below are the specifications. The resulting spectra are shown in Figure 1.


Table 1. Input Source Parameters

SourceContinuumRedshiftNormalizationShape
1Galaxy Spectra from Brown et al. (2014):
UGCA 219 (Blue Compact Dwarf)
810 nJy at 2 µm

Extended 2D Gaussian
σx = 0.1"
σy = 0.05" 

2Galaxy Spectra from Brown et al. (2014):
NGC 4552 (E w/ UV upturn)
1.5250 nJy at 2µm

Sersic (Scale Radius)
Semi-Major Axis: 0.5"
Semi-Minor Axis: 0.2"
Sersic index: 1.3 

After creating the sources, add Source #1 to the Scene.  All calculations (defined below) will be performed on that source.  To perform calculations on Source #2, add that source to the scene and remove Source #1.  All calculations will then automatically recalculate for Source #2.

Alternatively, you may wish to add both sources to a single scene, including spatial offsets so they don't overlap.  For an example of this setup, see Step-by-Step ETC Guide for NIRISS WFSS and Parallel NIRCam Imaging of Galaxies in Lensing Clusters.

 Figure 1. Source Spectrum

The spectra of the z = 8 galaxy (blue, fainter source) and the z = 1.5 galaxy (green, brighter source). The galaxy spectra come from Brown et al. (2014), in this case using the UGCA 219 (blue compact dwarf) template for redshift 8 and the NGC 4552 (E w/ UV upturn) template for redshift 1.5. This figure was generated by the ETC.


Define Exposure Calculations

Main article: JWST ETC Calculations Page Overview

The signal-to-noise estimates are carried out under the "Calculations" tab. This program requires NIRCam Short-Wavelength (SW) imaging, NIRCam Long-Wavelength (LW) Imaging, and MIRI Imaging calculations.  For each calculation, we must specify the Scene (which we defined above), the Background, the Instrument Setup, the Detector Setup, and the Strategy.  The aim will be to detect both galaxies with NIRCam exposure times from about 30 to 65 ks, where these approximate depths were pre-determined based on the numbers of high-z galaxies expected (see NIRCam Deep Field Imaging with MIRI Imaging Parallels).

The following table summarizes the input parameters to be used with multiple filters.  Below we justify these selections and provide additional input parameters for the individual filters.


Table 2. Input Calculation Parameters

TabParameterInstrumentValue
BackgroundPosition (Ra Dec)
03:32:28 -27:48:30
BackgroundBackground configuration
Medium
Detector SetupReadout patternNIRCamDEEP8
Detector SetupReadout patternMIRIFAST
StrategyAperture radiusNIRCam SW0.08"
StrategyAperture radiusNIRCam LW0.16"
StrategyAperture radiusMIRI0.3"
StrategyPerform Background Subtraction Using
noiseless sky background

Backgrounds

Main article: JWST ETC Backgrounds

The backgrounds will vary significantly depending on the location of the sky and time of year.  In the "Backgrounds" tab, we can specify the position Ra Dec = 03:32:28 -27:48:30 in the center of GOODS-S. Not knowing when the observations will be scheduled, we select the "Medium" Background configuration (50th percentile for all dates with visibility).

Instrument setup

Main article: JWST ETC Batch Expansions

In this tab, specify the filter used in each calculation. This program uses ten filters: four NIRCam SW, five NIRCam LW, and one MIRI filter, and (at least) one calculation is needed for each. See Table 1 for the filter specifications.

These can either be set up separately or users can set up one and then choose to "Expand Filters" from the "Expand" menu at the top of the ETC window. This option copies the selected calculation once for every available filter (more filters than needed here). See JWST ETC Batch Expansion.

Detector setup

Main article: NIRCam Imaging Recommended Strategies

In this tab, the exposure times and specifications are defined. Shorter exposure times are needed at 2–3 µm where NIRCam Imaging Sensitivity is best.  Longer exposure times are required at λ > 4 μm (due to lower filter throughputs and higher backgrounds) and at λ < 1 μm to significantly detect the Lyman break, distinguishing blue z ~ 8 galaxies from red z ~ 1.5 galaxies.

Here, we will estimate the expected S/N for the galaxies in our scene for ~30–60 ks total exposure times with NIRCam. The F770W MIRI filter will be observed in parallel with all observations for a total of about 200 ks (see APT section), so we compute the S/N for that exposure time as well.

To set up these exposure times in ETC, we need to choose the readout pattern as well as the numbers of groups, integrations, and exposures.  For NIRCam, we use the DEEP8 readout pattern, which is best suited for long exposures to reduce overheads and data volume.  See NIRCam Imaging Recommended Strategies for details.  For MIRI, we use the FAST readout pattern, which is recommended for background-limited observations, though note this will contribute significantly to the data volume.

When setting up the observations in APT, we have to adjust the final exposure times for various reasons.  See Step-by-Step APT Guide for NIRCam Deep Field Imaging with MIRI Imaging Parallels.  In practice, we work iteratively with both the ETC and APT.

Ultimately, we arrive at the exposure times and specifications shown in Table 3.  Exposures refer to the number of dithers in the ETC (one exposure is executed at each dither position).  The total exposure times are ~200 ks for NIRCam SW, NIRCam LW, and MIRI.

The MIRI exposure times must be matched to NIRCam exposures, as explained in the APT Guide.  For this matching, two different MIRI exposure times are required.  Thirty-six of them will be ~2,753 s, while another 27 will be ~3,670 s each.  We perform the ETC calculation separately for each exposure time (calculations #10 and #11).  Each yields S/N ~ 1.6 and 3.9 for the z ~ 8 and 1.5 galaxies, respectively.  Adding those in quadrature yields final S/N ~ 2.3 (z = 8) and 5.5 (z = 1.5).


Table 3. Input exposure specifications and resulting output S/N

CalculationModeFilterGroupsIntegrationsExposuresTotal time (s)

z = 8
S/N

z = 1.5
S/N
1nircam_sw_imagingF090W7218498624.150.48
2nircam_sw_imagingF115W9218653239.262.81
3

nircam_sw_imaging

F150W72184986210.776.30
4nircam_sw_imagingF200W9293266110.6610.23
5nircam_lw_imagingF277W9293266111.7730.45
6nircam_lw_imagingF335M929326619.3322.96
7nircam_lw_imagingF356W9293266114.9837.03
8nircam_lw_imagingF410M72184986210.0728.56
9nircam_lw_imagingF444W72184986213.3233.37
10miri_imagingF770W248436991021.613.89
11miri_imagingF770W218627980031.603.87

Strategy

Main article: JWST ETC Strategies

The "Strategy" tab specifies the aperture information used to measure the source photometry and compute the S/N. The Aperture radius should be large enough to encompass the source, yet not too small as to yield an overly optimistic S/N estimate. Here we use apertures with radii of 2.5 pixels, where the pixel sizes are 0.31" (NIRCam SW), 0.63" (NIRCam LW), and 0.11" (MIRI).  

We allow the ETC to subtract the known (noiseless) sky background, as recommended for aperture photometry in a range of filters (see JWST ETC Imaging Aperture Photometry Strategy).  Note the sky noise is still factored into the SNR calculation, just not the subtraction of the flux.  Similar results (with slightly lower SNR) are achieved by using large annuli to measure the sky background.

Figure 2. S/N estimates

S/N for the z = 8 galaxy (top) and z = 1.5 galaxy (bottom) vs. wavelength in each filter with the exposure specifications listed in Table 3. Note there are two MIRI calculations with similar exposure times that give nearly identical results. The combined S/N is higher by a factor of sqrt(2) for each galaxy: 2.3 (z = 8) and 5.5 (z = 1.5). These plots were generated by the ETC.


Discussion of the Results

For the z = 8 galaxy, S/N > 4 at all NIRCam wavelengths, and S/N = 2 in the MIRI image. MIRI is therefore better suited to detect slightly lower redshift galaxies in this deep field. The S/N is better than about 9 for 1.5 μm < λ < 4 μm, ensuring that galaxies at z = 8 will be detected. The z = 1.5 galaxy is well detected at all wavelengths except F090W and F115W, owing to a sharp downturn in the spectral energy distribution at λ < 1 μm for the adopted galaxy template (NGC 4552).

To check how well these observations will detect a fainter galaxy at higher redshift, the z = 8 galaxy can be changed to have a redshift of 10 and normalized flux of 5 nJy. In that case, the galaxy is still detected with S/N > 3 in all filters except F090W and F770W.

Keep in mind that the depth will not be uniform across the observed field.  Significant areas will have more or less exposure time than assumed here, as shown in the APT Guide.  

Also note that the NIRCam and MIRI observations defined in this program do not overlap with one another.  The JWST GTO JADES program will make use of shallower NIRCam imaging of a wider field to accompany their deep MIRI imaging, as shown on the main page for this Example Science Program #22.



Continue the Tutorial

With the exposure parameters now determined for this program, we can populate the observation template in the Astronomer's Proposal Tool (APT). See the Step-by-Step APT Guide to complete the proposal preparation for Example Science Program #22.



References

Brown, M. J. I. et al. 2014, ApJS, 212, 18
An Atlas of Galaxy Spectral Energy Distributions from the Ultraviolet to the Mid-Infrared

Pontoppidan, K. M., Pickering, T. E.,  Laidler, V. G.  et al., 2016, Proc. SPIE 9910, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems VI, 991016 , 
Pandeia: a multi-mission exposure time calculator for JWST and WFIRST

JWST Proposal Planning Workshop (May 2017)

Presentations from the May 2017 JWST Proposal Planning Workshop




Published

 

Latest updates

  • Revisions include matching exposures to those in the APT Guide.