Guidance is provided for astronomers preparing JWST NIRSpec observations. These recommendations are based on our best current knowledge of NIRSpec performance and operations.  

The Near Infrared Spectrograph NIRSpec provides excellent quality observations from about 0.6 to 5.3 μm. NIRSpec offers four main observing modes (1) fixed slits, (2) an integral field unit, (3) bright object time series spectroscopy with stable, high photometric precision, and (4) multi-objet spectroscopy.  These capabilities will be used for a broad variety of observing programs that will probe all main JWST science themes: first light and reionization, assembly of galaxies, birth of stars and protoplanetary systems, planets and origin of life. To prepare these programs, observers will have to make a series of choices concerning detector usage, dither options, and background observations among others.

The following articles contain recommendations that are meant to help observers optimize their programs and obtain the best science output. These recommendations are based in our best current knowledge of the instrument performance and operations, and as such some of them may evolve in the future.  

In this article we collect guidance and recommendations for astronomers preparing to use  any of the NIRSpec observing modes using the Astronomers' Proposal Tool (APT).  Here are the NIRSpec Observing Strategy Recommendations: 

Related links

JWST User Documentation Home

NIRSpec Observing Guidance


JWST technical documents

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Last updated

Published November 15, 2017

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Updated April 5, 2017

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Published March 2, 2017