COS Instrument Handbook for Cycle 26
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Cosmic Origins SpectrographInstrument Handbook for Cycle 26 > Chapter 8: Target Acquisitions > 8.9 Recommended Parameters for all COS TA Modes

8.9
As the result of our analysis of the target acquisition (TA) performance of COS during SMOV and during Cycles 17 through 25, we have adjusted many COS TA parameters and have refined our recommendations and guidelines for routine COS TAs. We present these recommendations and guidelines in the previous sections and summarize the most significant instructions below. Table 8.3 provides our recommended values for optional parameters for each COS TA type.
Signal-to-noise (S/N) is important. Use S/N > 40, except for ACQ/IMAGE, which requires S/N > 20 through the PSA and S/N > 30 through the BOA.
FUV ACQ/PEAKXD exposures in Cycle 25 and beyond take place at LP4 and use ACQ/PEAKXD and the optional parameters NUM-POS, STEP-SIZE, and CENTER. The default pattern of NUM-POS=3, STEP-SIZE=1.3, and CENTER=FLUX-WT should be used for most targets.
A single ACQ/SEARCH is not sufficient to CENTER a COS point-source target in the aperture. Always follow the first ACQ/SEARCH with an ACQ/IMAGE, ACQ/PEAKXD+ACQ/PEAKD, or a second 2  2 ACQ/SEARCH which uses FLUX-WT weighting.
ACQ/SEARCH exposures are not required for targets with coordinate accuracies of 0.4 arcsec or better in the ICRS/GSC2 frame. Spending extra time to validate target coordinates is the best way to save TA time. On-line catalogs often have coordinate errors that exceed 0.4 arcsec. It is the userʹs responsibility to verify that target coordinates are correct.
For NUV spectroscopic ACQ/PEAKXDs, only a few cenwaves have been proven to be reliable. Users should choose one of these cenwaves, which are listed in Section 2.7. The G185M, G225M, and G230L gratings each have three or four recommended cenwaves, while the G285M grating has none. For a full discussion of this issue, see COS ISR 2017-05.
If at all possible, use STRIPE=MEDIUM (stripe B) for NUV spectroscopic ACQ/PEAKXDs. (This is the default.) Primarily, this is because the WCA-to-PSA offsets in the flight software are optimized for stripe B in most modes. Choosing a different stripe will result in systematic offsets of the initial spectrum of order of a few pixels, which generally are still within typical target coordinate uncertainties.
Use NUM-POS=5, STEP-SIZE=0.9, and CENTER=FLUX-WT-FLR for most ACQ/PEAKD centerings. For the most accurate AD (ACQ/PEAKD) centering possible, use NUM-POS=9, STEP-SIZE=0.6, and CENTER=FLUX-WT-FLR. When a fast TA is required and lower centering accuracy can be tolerated, use NUM-POS=3, STEP-SIZE=1.3, and CENTER=FLUX-WT.
Table 8.3: COS Acquisition Modes, Options, and Recommended Values.
A, B, BOTH
31
STRIPE=MEDIUM2
DEFAULT3
A, B, BOTH
A, B, BOTH
51
1
Recommended number of acquisition steps.
2
The G230L grating has special recommendations, see Section 8.5.1
3
For ACQ/PEAKD and FUV ACQ/PEAKXD, use of the special parameter CENTER=DEFAULT is recommended. This parameter sets CENTER=FLUX-WT if NUM-POS=3 and CENTER=FLUX-WT-FLR if NUMPOS=5, 7, or 9.


Cosmic Origins SpectrographInstrument Handbook for Cycle 26 > Chapter 8: Target Acquisitions > 8.9 Recommended Parameters for all COS TA Modes

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