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NICMOS Data Handbook > Preface

How to Use this Handbook
This handbook is designed to help you manipulate, process and analyze data from the Near-Infrared Camera and MultiObject Spectrometer (NICMOS) on board the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). This is presented as an independent and self-contained document. Users who wish to find more general information about details of acquiring HST data from archive, their file formats, and general purpose software for displaying and processing these data, are referred to a companion volume, the " HST Data Handbook".
The current edition of the NICMOS Data Handbook has been written after servicing mission 3b (SM3b) and the installation of the NICMOS Cooling System (NCS). Therefore, where appropriate, details are given about the instrument performance in both pre- and post- NCS cycles. After the NCS installation (Cycles 11 and beyond), NICMOS had been operating at a warmer temperature (77.15 K), leading to differences in calibration compared to Cycles 7/7N, as many of the instrument properties are temperature sensitive (e.g., dark current, bias behavior, quantum efficiency and hence, photometric calibration). NICMOS has been in the safe mode since September 2008 and NCS/NCS restart attempt has been deferred until after Servicing Mission 4. However, this handbook contains up-to-date information (as of March 2009), about photometric calibrations, bias-derived temperature, temperature dependent reference files, dark current and polarimetry. This handbook provides comprehensive information for treatment of the NICMOS data obtained during Cycles 7/7N, 11 and beyond. For updated information, readers are advised to consult the NICMOS Web pages on the Space Telescope Science Institute Web site for the latest information regarding NICMOS performance and calibration.

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