JWST @ STScI Update

K. Pontoppidan (pontoppi[at]stsci.edu)

Impact of the COVID-19 on JWST Cycle 1

Due to the disruption to the worldwide JWST Observer community caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, STScI, NASA, and the international partners at ESA and CSA decided to postpone the JWST Cycle 1 deadline. The deadline will be set at a later date to ensure that the community has time to craft proposals as they envision to maximize the science output of the observatory. STScI continues to operate and support JWST proposal writing; all proposal tools are available, the help desk is ready to answer questions, and it is still possible to submit and revise Cycle 1 proposals in the Astronomer’s Proposal Tool.

Cycle 1 proposal planning

The JWST Master Class was held at STScI on November 18–22, 2019 to train a cohort of 28 participants in JWST proposing, in preparation for them organizing a wide range of workshops helping their local communities to craft JWST proposals. On February 3–5, ESA led their own version of the Master Class to support the European communities. The Master Classes were a great success, as were the local workshops. STScI supported the American workshops with live helpdesk office hours.

While a few planned JWST Master Class community workshops were cancelled due to COVID-19, others were able to transfer their activities to an online format. In the end, the great majority of the Master Class program was completed. As a measure of attendance, about 1600 printed copies of the JWST Pocket Guide were distributed to workshops around the world. STScI gratefully acknowledges the essential contributions to the JWST science of the Master Class graduates and other organizers of JWST community workshops worldwide. If you were not able to attend a community workshop, a wide range of self-learning resources are available in the Workshop-in-a-Box.

During March, the Director’s Discretionary Early Release Science (DD-ERS) teams presented a series of webinars covering their science, technical implementation, and what they plan to deliver to the JWST community. The webinars were recorded and posted on the JWSTObserver YouTube channel. This is a resource intended to provide the community with an overview of the DD-ERS program, help general observers with inspiration for their own proposals, as well as to support archival proposals for using the DD-ERS data.

JWST Data Analysis Tools development

STScI anticipates that community preparations for analyzing JWST data will soon ramp up, especially following the JWST Cycle 1 program selections. Consequently, STScI staff are busy developing the software tools needed by the community for JWST data analysis, including pipeline processing, but also to support analysis of post-pipeline data sets. Such analysis could include source detection, (spectro)-photometry, spectral-line analysis, visualization of data cubes, etc. The post-pipeline data analysis development focuses on three areas: 1) expanding the capabilities of "core libraries" of astropy, including libraries such as gwcs, photutils, and specutils; 2) developing flexible visualization tools for use with integral field spectroscopy, multi-object spectroscopy, and imaging; and 3) providing example science use case Jupyter Python Notebooks that demonstrate and document typical data analysis procedures in a realistic environment.

Work is underway to develop training opportunities in JWST data analysis, based on the new JWST data analysis Python ecosystem. Keep an eye out for more information about JWST data analysis in the near future, but training will likely include workshops, live online activities, and self-learning resources. Further, the DD-ERS teams are committed to delivering their own tools, reduced data, and lessons-learned to the community to help inform, in particular, Cycle 2 proposals. A great way to explore DD-ERS support for data analysis is to view their recent webinars on JWSTObserver YouTube.