May 31, 2022

About This Article

The Director's Discretionary (DD) Early Release Science (ERS) Program is one of the strategies that has been implemented to maximize the science return of JWST. The majority of the ERS observations, encompassing a wide range of science cases, instruments and observing modes, will be acquired in the first five months of science operations and become public immediately. The ERS teams are working hard to produce deliverables to the community. ERS deliveries are very diverse in nature and include high-level data products, software tools, Jupyter notebooks, documentation, instrument performance, simulations, ancillary data, and community engagement events. 

In this and in subsequent JWST Observer News articles we will keep the community informed of recent ERS activities and deliverables that are benefiting the community. The DD-ERS webpage contains more information on the ERS programs, including links to each of the teams’ webpages. What follows is a summary of recent contributions from a subset of ERS programs; other teams will be featured in future JWST Observer News articles. 

This article provides updates for PDRs4All, IceAge, GLASS, Q-3D, CEERS, Wolf-Rayet Dust, and Transiting Exoplanet ERS Teams.

ERS 1288 -  Radiative Feedback from Massive Stars as Traced by Multiband Imaging and Spectroscopic Mosaics
(PI: Olivier Berne, Co-PIs: Emilie Habart and Els Peeters)

The science enabling products from the PDRs4All ERS team include:

  • Scientific (model) spectra of Orion
  • Simulated NIRCAM data
  • Simulated NIRSpec data

Recent peer reviewed publications are “PDRs4All: A JWST Early Release Science Program on radiative feedback from massive stars” (Berné et al. 2022), and “High angular resolution near-IR view of the Orion Bar by Keck/NIRC2 Observatory” (Habart et al. 2022, submitted). Other publications include “PDRs4all: Simulation and data reduction of JWST NIRCam imaging of an extended bright source, the Orion Bar” (Canin et al. 2021) and “PDRs4all: NIRSpec simulation of integral field unit spectroscopy of the Orion Bar photodissociation region” (Canin et al. 2022).

The PDRs4All ERS team will lead JWebbinar 15 “PDRs4All - Simulate NIRCam observations of an extended source, planned for June 23-24, 2022. This JWebbinar will feature a summary of the scientific objectives and observing strategy of the PDRsa4All program, how to simulate raw NIRCam images with MIRAGE on an extended source (the Orion Bar) from a “mosaic” input image, and how to reduce NIRCam SW and LW imaging, step by step, using the latest version of the pipeline.

ERS 1309 - IceAge: Chemical Evolution of Ices during Star Formation
(PI: Melissa McClure Co-PIs: Abraham C. Boogert and Harold Linnartz)

As one of IceAge's Science Enabling Products, the IceAge team members from laboratories around the world are assembling a database of new and extant absorption spectroscopy of all major ice species, as well as icy complex organic molecules (COMs), some of which could participate in the origins of life. These ice spectra are hosted at the Leiden Ice Database for Astrochemistry (LIDA), which was recently upgraded by Dr. Will Rocha, under the supervision of IceAge co-PI Prof. Harold Linnartz. LIDA contains over 1000 spectra of molecules frozen to temperatures around -263 C and under ultra-high vacuum, including the ices H2O, CO, CO2, NH3, and CH3OH that are abundant in star-forming regions and comets. To expand the inventory of frozen molecules detected in space, LIDA hosts data of unseen molecules that should be detectable in the solid phase with JWST, such as C3H6O and CH3CH2OH. 

In addition to a traditional database, LIDA provides online tools for enhanced JWST data interpretation and modeling, for example to derive refractive indices of the ices and to simulate the spectrum of a star in its initial stages of formation. These tools will enable immediate comparison with JWST Cycle 1 data, including those of IceAge, as well as predicting detection possibilities for Cycle 2 proposals, one of the goals of the ERS programs.

ERS 1324 - Through the Looking GLASS: A JWST Exploration of Galaxy Formation and Evolution from Cosmic Dawn to Present Day
(PI: Tommaso Treu)

The GLASS ERS team has recently published two papers describing tools along with a science paper:

ERS 1335 - Q-3D - Imaging Spectroscopy of Quasar Hosts with JWST Analyzed with a Powerful New PSF Decomposition and Spectral Analysis Package
(PI: Dominika Wylezalek; Co-PIs: Sylvain Veilleux and Nadia Zakamska)

The Q3D ERS team led two sessions of JWebbinar 14 in April 2022, “Q3D: Fitting Spectra and Data Cubes of Galaxies and Quasars”, with 45 participants, featuring a pre-released of q3dfit, a Python data analysis package for continuum and emission-line fitting of IFS data cubes of galaxies and quasars, for observations with NIRSpec and MIRI IFU. In this JWebbinar, participants learned about the inputs and outputs of the tool and run q3dfit on a set of rest-frame optical, near-IR, and mid-IR test data. Recording of this JWebbinar and accompanying materials are made available on the JWebbinar webpage.

ERS 1345 - The Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science (CEERS) Survey
(PI: Steven Finkelstein)

The CEERS ERS team led two sessions of JWebbinar 13 in February 2022, “CEERS NIRCam and MIRI Imaging”, with 65 participants, covering the reduction of a single chip of NIRCam SW and LW imaging in 6 broadband filters and of a single MIRI pointing in 5 broadband filters, in the context of two science cases: the detection and analysis of high-redshift galaxies, and dust emission from z~1-3 galaxies. Recording of this JWebbinar and accompanying materials are made available at the JWebbinar webpage.

The CEERS team provided the following data releases, all available through their website (more are expected in the near future):

  • Simulated Data Release 1 (SDR1):  This v1 data release includes simulated raw CEERS data for one pointing of NIRCam imaging and six pointings of MIRI imaging, in addition to readme files for each instrument mode, Jupyter notebooks showing how to reduce the raw data through the JWST Calibration Pipeline, and the mock catalog of JWST photometry and galaxy properties that is used as input for the simulations. These data products were presented at JWebbinar 13.
  • Hubble Data Release 1 (HDR1):  This v1 data release includes HST mosaics in 6 filters (ACS/WFC F606W, F814W and WFC3/IR F105W, F125W, F140W, F160W), all pixel aligned with astrometry tied to Gaia-EDR3. The images are on a pixel scale of 30 milliarcseconds/pixel.
  • Simulated Data Release 2 (SDR2):  This v2 data release includes simulated NIRSpec MSA observations for one CEERS pointing, in addition to fully reduced and calibrated spectra in all CEERS filter/grating configurations, as well as Jupyter notebooks showing how to reduce the data through the JWST Calibration Pipeline.

ERS 1349 - Establishing Extreme Dynamic Range with JWST: Decoding Smoke Signals in the Glare of a Wolf-Rayet Binary
(PI: Ryan Lau)

In preparation for the launch of JWST and the start of Cycle 1 science observations, the Wolf-Rayet (WR) Dust ERS team has been conducting an observing campaign with ground- and space-based infrared (IR) facilities on dust-forming carbon-rich WR stars to revisit their impact on the origin of dust in the interstellar medium in the early and local Universe. In this effort, the team has led multiple scientific publications with observations from facilities such as Subaru, Keck, and Spitzer (e.g. Lau et al. 2020a, 2020b, 2021a, 2021b; Endo et al. 2022), where they have set the stage for our upcoming JWST DD-ERS observations with MIRI and NIRISS. They have also been exploring JWST synergies with very long baseline interferometry techniques using instruments such as MATISSE to spatially resolve and probe dust nucleation around WR stars. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the team members have also been actively monitoring WR stars with space-based X-ray facilities such as NICER, Swift, and XMM to investigate the hot shocked gas at the interface of colliding winds, the extreme furnace from which dust grains are subsequently formed.

ERS 1366 - The Transiting Exoplanet Community Early Release Science Program
(PI: Natalie Batalha, Co-PIs: Jacob Bean and Kevin Stevenson)

The Time Series Observation (TSO) ERS team has generated a full suite of simulated data for all of their observing modes and made them available to the public at the end of February 2022. The data set is available, together with all the other recent deliveries from the TSO ERS team. It includes a presentation at the Exoplanets-IV conference that summarizes the goals and status of the TSO ERS program and information on the simulated data and open-source analysis tools. The open-source Eureka pipeline now has a stable release that processes data from pixels to planetary spectrum as well as a documented “QuickStart” mode.

The TSO ERS team hosted a Data Challenge on March 21-24, 2022 at Johns Hopkins University and a parallel event in Heidelberg. This working meeting, that allowed for on-line participation, hosted 40 participants, including students, postdocs, and professionals, with the goal of learning how to reduce time-series data from each of JWST’s four instruments, of comparing the output of independent pipelines, and of exploring solutions for dealing with 1/f noise and the multi-order extraction for NIRISS. The team is now performing atmospheric retrievals on the reduced planet spectra, comparing results to the model inputs, and identifying the sources of inconsistencies. The TSO ERS team found this practice run to be extremely useful in preparing the team for the anticipated ERS observations beginning in July.

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