Verification and science simulations with the Instrument Performance Simulator for JWST - NIRSpec

Abstract : The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), a joint project by NASA, ESA, and CSA, is the successor mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. One of the four science instruments on board is the near-infrared spectrograph NIRSpec. To study the instrument performance and to create realistic science exposures, the Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon (CRAL) developed the Instrument Performance Simulator (IPS) software. Validating the IPS functionality, creating an accurate model of the instrument, and facilitating the preparation and analysis of simulations are key elements for the success of the IPS. In this context, we verified parts of the IPS algorithms, specifically the coordinate transform formalism, and the Fourier propagation module. We also developed additional software tools to simplify the scientific usage, as a target interface to construct observation scenes, and a dedicated data reduction pipeline to extract spectra from exposures. Another part of the PhD work dealt with the assembly of an as-built instrument model, and its verification with measurements from a ground calibration campaign. For coordinate transforms inside the instrument, we achieved an accuracy of 3–5 times better than the required absolute spectral calibration, and we could reproduce the total instrument throughput with an absolute error of 0–10% and a relative error of less than 5%. Finally, we show first realistic on-sky simulations of a deep field spectroscopy scene, and we explored the capabilities of NIRSpec to study exoplanetary transit events. We determined upper brightness limits of observable host stars, and give noise estimations of exemplary transit spectra.
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Bernhard Dorner. Verification and science simulations with the Instrument Performance Simulator for JWST - NIRSpec. Other. Université Claude Bernard - Lyon I, 2012. English. ⟨NNT : 2012LYO10066⟩. ⟨tel-00738070⟩

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