JWST @ STScI Update

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

Approaching the Cycle 1 Deadline

By the time this article is published, the JWST Cycle 1 deadline will have passed. This milestone has been a long time in the making, and it is incredibly exciting to see the community crafting their proposals and using the many proposal planning tools. The many systems created to support JWST proposals are working well, the help desk is responding to questions, the Exposure Time Calculator and Astronomers' Proposal Tool are operating smoothly as demand is increasing, and the documentation system is serving hundreds of unique users on a daily basis. All of this is due to years of work by the dedicated engineers and scientists on the JWST teams at STScI and our partners at NASA, ESA, and CSA. After the deadline, the proposals will be shepherded through a competitive selection process, followed by technical reviews of the selected Cycle 1 program.  

ExoCTK logoThe Exoplanet Characterization ToolKit at STScI

Our proposal planning tool suite was updated to support the Cycle 1 proposal process. For instance, version 1.1 of the Exoplanet Characterization ToolKit (ExoCTK) was released. ExoCTK is an extensive effort led by the JWST Observer community, and includes a suite of web-based services, as well as the exoplanet ETC, Pandexo (Batalha et al. 2017). These tools were developed to aid observers planning JWST transiting exoplanetary observations, but can also be used for other missions capable of observing exoplanet transits. With this release, ExoCTK became part of the STScI-supported JWST Observer proposal planning tools ecosystem, which in part means that you can now get your ExoCTK questions answered through the JWST Help Desk.


jdaViz logoPreparing for JWST Data Analysis

The STScI data analysis development teams have worked hard in the past months to build up the JWST data analysis ecosystem. A cornerstone for supporting JWST Observers is a collection of Python notebooks, demonstrating how JWST data can be analyzed for a range of different science cases. The notebooks take advantage of a set of "core libraries," generally based on astropy, as well as a new set of visualization tools, called JDAViz. JDAViz in particular contains versatile tools for visualizing one-dimensional spectroscopy, integral field spectroscopy, and multi-object spectroscopy, and is now available as version 1.0.

After the Cycle 1 deadline, STScI will be organizing training sessions for JWST data analysis. This training will be available as a series of live online events as well as video recordings, and will begin soon after the Cycle 1 General Observer program is selected. Stay tuned on JWSTObserver for more detailed announcements.


As professional meetings were moved online due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, STScI continued to support JWST. At the 236th summer AAS, we featured mission updates from both NASA and STScI, as well as a fully staffed booth. Recordings of the JWST webinars are available on the JWSTObserver YouTube channel. At the AAS Division of Planetary Sciences meeting, JWST was represented at the STScI town hall, and the planetary science community had an opportunity to get support for writing Cycle 1 proposals. At the 237th winter AAS, we will feature a JWST Town Hall with mission updates from NASA, as well as news about JWST data analysis training. We hope to see many of you there (virtually, of course)!