The JWST Moving Target Visibility Tool (MTVT) is a command-line Python tool that provides quick-look assessments of moving target visibilities and position angles for all JWST instruments.
Main article: Target Visibility Tools
GTVT article: JWST General Target Visibility Tool Help
The JWST Moving Target Visibility Tool (MTVT) is a Python command-line tool for calculating moving (solar system) target visibility windows as a function of time. It has similar functionality to that of the JWST General Target Visibility Tool (GTVT), with a few additional features specific to moving targets. The MTVT is bundled with the GTVT, and is automatically installed when users install the GTVT (no stand-alone installation process is provided for the MTVT). Additional documentation can be found at this GitHub page. Both the GTVT and MTVT currently use assumed pre-launch JWST orbital parameters.
Unlike the GTVT, users input a solar system target designation, rather than a fixed RA, Dec sky position. The designation can be an official name (e.g. Saturn, Gaspra, Encke), number (e.g., 599, 20000), or provisional designation (e.g., 1992 QB1). MTVT uses the JPL Horizons system to resolve the designation, and retrieves the target ephemeris (RA, Dec) at one day intervals. At that point, the functionality of the MTVT is identical to that of the GTVT.
For a given RA and Dec, the MTVT provides the reference position angle information for all 4 science instruments and the FGS within the allowed visibility windows. It also outputs the V3 axis position angle (PA) for reference. Results are in the form of an ASCII file as well as one or more summary plots. A number of options are available from the command line for tailoring the output to your needs (examples are provided below). Once the plot is displayed, icons can be selected to pan and zoom in on the plot to see detailed information. To execute a new run of the MTVT the plot window must first be closed.
The allowable position angles output by the MTVT can, for example, be used to help users plan observations of giant planet satellites to ensure that the giant planet avoids falling on a nearby science or FGS aperture, or to determine the visibility windows and durations for fast moving near-Earth objects (NEOs). In order to visualize an observation in APT using Aladin, users should add a PA Range special requirement that reflects the range of allowed position angles from MTVT, and create a fixed-target proxy with coordinates consistent with those position angles. Once that is done, visualization can proceed as described in the Visualizing Dithers of a Solar System Observation in APT tutorial.
The schedulability of a given target observation is more complex that just its visibility. It also involves the availability of guide stars as a function of time and other constraints that may be set with Special Requirements and/or Solar System Special Requirements in APT. The MTVT is a "quick look" tool for pre-planning purposes, but the Astronomers Proposal Tool is the true arbiter of schedulability for a given proposed observation.
Installation and dependencies
The MTVT comes packaged with the GTVT as of January 1, 2018. The user is referred to the "Installation and usage" section on the JWST General Target Visibility Tool Help page for instructions on how to install (or update if an older version of GTVT was installed) GTVT/MTVT. Note that the assumed orbital ephemeris and time period of the default calculation was updated in mid-2018 to accommodate the revised launch assumption of March 2021.
Similarly, the user should refer to the "Dependencies" section on the JWST General Target Visibility Tool Help page for information on the packages and libraries required to run GTVT/MTVT. In addition to those packages and libraries, MTVT also requires the astroquery Python package. This package can be installed in a conda environment with the following command:
Alternatively, if you are familiar with "pip", you can install the package with the following command:
Once successfully installed, MTVT is run from the command line, as described below.
To see the MTVT help information, type "jwst_mtvt -h".
Note that the "--v3pa" optional argument in MTVT is identical to the "--pa" optional argument in GTVT.
MTVT command line examples
The user is referred to the "GTVT command line examples" section of the JWST General Target Visibility Tool Help page for basic GTVT/MTVT commands.
Basic use of the MTVT is shown with the example command below
Note that the following command will produce the same results
After running this command, a table will be output in the terminal and a plot will open in a new window that includes the allowable position angles as a function of time for the V3 axis, the 4 science instruments (NIRCam, MIRI, NIRSpec, NIRISS), and the FGS. Examples of these outputs are shown in the section below, "MTVT outputs."
Evaluating planet visibility
An example command for running MTVT for a planet is shown below
However, running the above command will result in the following message
In order to obtain a result from the MTVT, the user must select either Jupiter Barycenter as the target using ID# 5
Or Jupiter as the target using ID# 599
The ID# of the planet barycenters and the planets themselves used by JPL Horizons are presented in Table 1.
Table 1. JPL Horizons planet ID numbers
Evaluating minor body visibility
An example command for running MTVT for a minor body using its name is shown below.
An example command for running MTVT for a minor body using its provisional designation is shown below.
An example command for running MTVT for a minor body using its number and the "--smallbody" optional argument is shown below. This purpose of this optional argument is to remove ambiguity between low-numbered minor bodies and major bodies. The below example will return information on the asteroid 4 Vesta; without the "--smallbody" optional argument, the MTVT would return infromation on Mars.
For higher-numbered minor bodies, the "--smallbody" optional argument is not necessary, as shown below for the dwarf planet Haumea.
The special case of comets
An example command for running MTVT for a comet using its name shown below.
An example command for running MTVT for a comet using its designation is shown below. Use of the "--smallbody" optional argument is not necessary for comets when using the designation as the identifier.
The above commands are equivalent and will both result in the following message.
JPL Horizons contains multiple orbital solutions for periodic comets, so the user must select one option to proceed. The user is less likely to receive this message for long-period comets. If the user does not know the Record # for the orbital solution of interest ahead of time, this is an easy way to see a list of possible values. If the user knows the Record # ahead of time, they can skip the step of viewing the list. If the user wants the most recent orbital solution for 2P/Encke, they would type the following command:
Note that the most recent orbital solution is not selected as a default when running the MTVT.
The default outputs for the MTVT are identical to the GTVT: a 6-panel plot showing the allowable position angles for the V3 axis, the 4 science instruments, and the FGS; and an ASCII table containing the information in the plot in table form. See the "Example plots from GTVT" section of the JWST General Target Visibility Tool Help page for instructions on how to output a plot for only one instrument.
The MTVT was developed by Michael S. P. Kelley, University of Maryland.