Space Telescope Science Institute
WFC3 Instrument Handbook
help@stsci.edu
Table of Contents Previous Next Index Print


Wide Field Camera 3 Instrument Handbookfor Cycle 22 > Appendix C: Dithering and Mosaicking > C.1 Why Mosaicking and Dithering are Needed

C.1 Why Mosaicking and Dithering are Needed
The sizes of telescope pointing offsets between successive exposures can be very different, depending on whether the purpose is “mosaicking” or “dithering.” Mosaicking is done with the aim of increasing the area of sky covered by a particular set of exposures, usually with the goal of providing a seamless joining of contiguous frames. The angular offsets used when mosaicking are generally large, up to the size of the field of view. Only programs observing targets larger than the field of view of the detector need to use mosaicked exposures.
Dithering generally involves much smaller telescope offsets, often on the order of a few pixels in size. Most imaging programs are advised to use dithering for several reasons, including:
Dithered and mosaicked exposures can be combined using software included in DrizzlePac. Note that it is sometimes necessary to use software like that in DrizzlePac to combine even CR-SPLIT or repeat exposures, when pointing drift causes slight misalignment of exposures and differences in how PSFs are pixilated, or when gradual changes in focus over the course of an orbit produce changes in the observed PSF.
In some programs, especially those observing time-variable phenomena, combining dithered exposures to correct for cosmic rays and transient bad pixels may be scientifically infeasible. In such cases, single-image based methods must be used. These methods use statistical properties of cosmic-ray brightness or sharpness to identify and interpolate across cosmic rays. Single-image cosmic ray rejection schemes are not available through the standard WFC3 calibration pipeline.

Wide Field Camera 3 Instrument Handbookfor Cycle 22 > Appendix C: Dithering and Mosaicking > C.1 Why Mosaicking and Dithering are Needed

Table of Contents Previous Next Index Print