NIRSpec Bright Source Limits
Sensitivity cases are available that describe the brightest limits that JWST NIRSpec will be able to observe for the given instrument parameters in the fixed slit, IFU and multi-object spectroscopy observing modes.
The performance of JWST has been measured directly at both the component and system level using the fully assembled NIRSpec flight model. The results of the JWST throughput measurements have been integrated into a sensitivity model that includes the following components: (1) background, (2) photon conversion efficiency, (3) encircled energy, and (4) detector performance (Pontoppidan 2016). The components of an astronomical scene are taken into account to perform accurate measurements using the JWST Exposure Time Calculator (ETC). The method for the calculation is described in NIRSpec predicted performance. Information presented in this article shows bright source observing limits for the NIRSpec science modes using specific input calculation parameters.
Users should ultimately use the Exposure Time Calculator (ETC) for all sensitivity calculations. Information presented here is for graphical example.
NIRSpec bright source observing limits (saturation levels)
The bright end sensitivities are presented here for a test case of three NIRSpec observing modes: integral field unit (IFU), multi-object spectroscopy (MOS), and fixed slits (FS). The curves for bright limits define the flux that is just below the detector saturation limit at the presented wavelengths for each NIRSpec filter-grating configuration. The parameters used for the test cases for each mode are defined as:
Target calculation parameters (common for all modes):
- point source
- flat continuum spectral energy distribution
- 1.2 times minimum zodiacal background
Detector readout parameters (common for all modes):
- NRSRAPID readout pattern
- Two groups in the exposure
- One integration
- One Exposure
- Sensitivity in this calculation is defined by the flux measured in the exposure group #2 minus flux in group #1; this is known as a "correlated double sample" (CDS) subtracted frame.
- Three shutter slitlet
- default background subtraction (one on-target, two off-target)
- Four pixel extraction box
- 2-point nod (one on-target, one off-target)
- 3 × 3 spatial element extraction box
- Slit S200A11
- FULL frame detector readout (no detector subarray used)
- separate background exposure
- Four pixel extraction box
Figures 1, 2 and 3 present the bright limit curves for the NIRSpec FS (S200A1), MOS and IFU benchmark ETC cases.
1Bold italics style indicates words that are also parameters or buttons in software tools (like the APT and ETC). Similarly, a bold style represents menu items and panels.
Pontoppidan, K. 2016, Proc of SPIE, 9910, 16
Pandeia: a multi-mission exposure time calculator for JWST and WFIRST Reference papers and reports