|COS Instrument Handbook for Cycle 25|
COS spectra exhibit wavelength gaps due to the physical layout of the detectors and the optics. The FUV detector consists of two segments whose active areas are separated by a gap approximately 9 mm wide. The optical image of the spectrum is continuous across the segments, but the wavelengths that fall in the gap (which depend on the CENWAVE selected) are not recorded. These wavelengths can be brought onto the active area of the detector by choosing one of the alternate central-wavelength settings listed in Table 5.3. For the FUV M gratings, the gap (14–18 Å) is about twice the size of the difference in central wavelength shifts (9 Å). To span it we recommend obtaining exposures at two or more FP-POS positions at each of two non-consecutive CENWAVE settings. For the G140L grating, both CENWAVEs are needed to obtain a complete spectrum.
Central wavelength setting (Å)1 Recorded wavelengths2 1118 – 22513
All wavelength ranges quoted here are approximate, due to uncertainties in the position of the OSM1 mechanism.
G140L spectra are flux calibrated up to 2150 Å. At longer wavelengths, second-order light may be present (see Section 5.1.3).
For the NUV channel dispersed light from the gratings is imaged onto the detector by three camera mirrors resulting in three non-contiguous spectral stripes being recorded at once. The gaps between the stripes are approximately 64 Å for the G185M and G225M gratings, 74 Å for G285M, and 700 Å for G230L (Table 5.4). To acquire a complete medium-resolution spectrum requires six settings with G185M, six with G225M, and eight with G285M (Table 5.5). A full spectrum with G230L requires three CENWAVE settings (Table 5.4). Such a complete spectrum can probably be acquired more efficiently with STIS, but COS may be a better choice when a limited number of specific wavelengths is desired.
Central wavelength setting (Å)1 1334 – 17332 2059 – 24584 3161 – 35605
For central wavelength 2635 Å, the stripe A wavelengths are listed for completeness only (and in case a bright emission line falls onto the detector). The NUV detector’s sensitivity at these wavelengths is extremely low. To obtain a low-resolution spectrum at wavelengths below ~ 1700 Å, we recommend the FUV grating G140L.
The values in shaded cells are wavelength ranges observed in second order light. Their dispersion is twice that of the first-order spectrum. First-order flux, from wavelengths twice those of the listed range, will be present at the ~ 5% level.
Lyman-α may be present in second order light.
Longward of 3200 Å, second-order light may be present. At these wavlengths, the flux calibration applied by calcos is unreliable (Section 5.1.3).
This table gives the NUV medium-resolution grating and central wavelength combinations that are needed to create a continuous COS NUV spectrum from 1670 Å to 3229 Å. The Stripe Wavelength Ranges columns give the wavelength ranges covered by each of the three NUV stripes, using the nominal FP-POS=3 setting, corresponding to each of the grating and central wavelength values on the left. The Cumulative Wavebands columns give the cumulative wavebands covered by the current setting, and all the grating and central wavelength settings above it.