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NICMOS STScI Analysis Newsletter 5

NICMOS STScI Analysis Newsletter 5

September 1997
         - NICMOS NEWS
           + New NICMOS Information on the WWW
         - NICMOS Camera 3 Campaign
         - Compromise focus now available for NICs 1 and 2
 New NICMOS Information on the WWW
 Similar to all Space Telescope Instruments, the NICMOS home page on
 the World Wide Web is updated with all instrument developments. The
 NICMOS home page can be found by visiting the STScI WWW page
 ( and following Observing links to the NICMOS
 Web pages.
 Since last month, the following items have been new POSTS in the
    * NICMOS Focus Update (6-October-1997).
    * NICMOS Calibration Workshop POSTERS.
    * A DRAFT version of the NICMOS Data Handbook.
    * CALNICA Processing Flow Chart.
 Since last month, the following Instrument Science Reports have been made
 available on the NICMOS documentation Web Page:
    * Persistence in NICMOS: Results from On-Orbit Data
    * NICMOS SM-2 SMOV Alignment Results
 NICMOS Camera 3 Campaign
 We have been monitoring the focus of all three NICMOS cameras since
 launch, and in particular the situation regarding camera 3 (NIC3) which
 currently cannot be focussed using the NICMOS internal focus adjustment
 available with the Pupil Adjust Mirror (PAM).  Although the focus of
 NIC3 has moved back significantly towards focus from its maximum
 excursion in May, there has been little or no change recently, see the
 NICMOS web site for details. Accordingly, and in line with the
 recommendations of the Independent Science Review that was held earlier
 this year, we will be conducting a NIC3 campaign early in 1998 during
 which the HST secondary mirror will be moved to a position such that
 NIC3 can be optimally focussed.  This will temporarily leave the other
 instruments out of focus for the duration of the campaign.
 The campaign will be executed in the last few weeks of January, 1998.
 The precise extent will depend on exactly how many science programs
 using NIC3 are available for scheduling at that time.  We expect to
 conduct a second NIC3 campaign later in 1998.  A major component of the
 first campaign will be GTO observations of the Hubble Deep Field in
 which deep imaging and spectroscopy of the HDF will be obtained using
 We have generated a list of submitted proposals which are candidates to
 run in the NIC3 campaign, and have contacted the relevant PIs.  They
 are requested to confirm that proposals are useable as they stand by
 November 3rd, 1997.
 If observers wish to make changes to a proposal to facilitate its
 inclusion in the January campaign, they should do so by November 3rd,
 1997.  A statement should be provided stating what changes are proposed
 and why, a statement that the PI has confirmed that any new targets are
 not currently on a reserved target list, and there must be an
 explanation why the changes will allow the science goals to be
 satisfied. Changes must be accomplished within the original orbit
 allocation.  Major changes will be reviewed by STScI and require
 approval by the Director.  No guarantee can be offered that a changed
 proposal will successfully execute during the first campaign, and so
 the possibility of waiting for the second campaign or observing outside
 the campaign must be acknowledged.
 Affected proposers also have the opportunity to modify their proposals
 using the new version of RPS2 that will be available on October 20th.
 In addition to a number of minor changes, the new version of RPS2 will
 include code that will eliminate many serial buffer dumps.  Final RPS2
 programs must be in place by November 21, 1997 at the latest, and
 earlier if possible -- substantial revisions submitted on that deadline
 may not be processed in time to be included in the campaign.
 Concurrent with this campaign notification, we are also offering
 observers the chance to let us know if they would like their NIC3
 observations to be released from on-hold, and executed OUTSIDE the NIC3
 campaign, which will improve the chance of them being executed within
 the NICMOS cryogen lifetime.  We will post a description of the NIC3
 performance characteristics at the best reachable focus outside the
 campaign, along with the in-focus campaign characteristics, on the
 NICMOS web pages in the next few days.  This documentation should
 enable observers to assess whether their science remains feasible with
 the somewhat degraded focus of NIC3 outside the campaign.
 Please contact your contact scientist with questions, change requests, 
 and updated RPS2 files.
 Compromise focus now available for NICs 1 and 2:
 When using NICMOS cameras 1 and 2 together, the PAM focus is normally
 set to the primary camera (or first listed parallel, if both cameras
 are in parallel with another instrument). This is to optimize the image
 quality for most primary science. There are some occasions when it is
 more important to observe simultaneously with both NIC1 and NIC2, with
 both images equally important and so a focus position has been
 establishedthat balances the image quality between both of these
 There is a new NICMOS Optional Parameter to allow the observer to set 
 the PAM focus to this compromise between cameras 1 and 2. The name of the 
 parameter is "CAMERA-FOCUS" and the allowed values are "1-2" and "DEF".
 The former value will set the PAM at the compromise focus for the given 
 exposure (and its parallels). The latter (default) will set the PAM at 
 the best focus for the primary camera being used.
                           APPENDIX: NICMOS Contacts
 Any questions about the scheduling of your observations should be
 addressed to your Program Coordinator. Post-Observation questions can
 be addressed to your Contact Scientist. If you do not know who these
 persons are, you can find the information on the WWW at
 Analysis, STSDAS or any other HST-related questions can also be
 addressed to
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