COS2025 Policies


The COS FUV microchannel plate detector’s efficiency at converting incoming photons into detectable events decreases with usage. This depletion of the detector’s gain (i.e. gain sag) results in unusable regions of the COS/FUV detector. The main culprit of gain sag in the COS/FUV detector is Lyα geocoronal emission at 1216 Å that fills the COS 2.5” aperture whenever the G130M grating is used with the 1291/1300/1309/1318/1327 cenwaves on Segment B.

In order to mitigate this gain sag, a number of strategies have been employed over the past 8 years of operations. These range from moving to different lifetime positions, to managing the high voltage to extract a smaller amount of charge, to re-distributing the cenwave usage so that Lyα does not produce a gain-sag hole in a given location.

We are now at a point where none of the strategies above will, without any other changes, allow us to continue operating the COS/FUV detector to 2025. To address this a new COS2025 policy has been developed. This new policy, with the goal of retaining full science capability of COS/FUV to 2025, places restrictions on the G130M cenwaves allowed at Lifetime Position 4.

Summary of Supported and Available Modes

Tables 1 and 2 summarize the supported and available science and target acquisition modes as a function of lifetime position, for each COS/FUV cenwave, following the new COS2025 policy.

Supported and Available Science Modes vs. Lifetime Position

Supported and Available Target Acquisition Modes vs. Lifetime Position


Wavelength Range Tool

To assist users in preparing their Phase II proposals we have developed a COS/FUV wavelength range tool that allow users to visualize the COS/FUV wavelength ranges in light of the restrictions on G130M setting usage put in place to maximize the lifetime of the COS/FUV detector.

Wavelength Ranges Affected by Gain Sag on Segment B

The COS2025 strategy allows users to obtain Segment = B data with G130M/1291/FP-POS=3,4. Over time, Lyα airglow will sag these detector regions, which will become un-usable. This means that other settings, projecting light into these detector regions will also be affected. Tables 3a) and 3b) below summarize the wavelength ranges that will be affected for all the gratings. Users should consider carefully whether a wavelength region of interest falls in any of the affected wavelength ranges given in Tables 3a) and 3b).

G130M Settings

G160M Settings


LAST UPDATED: 10/20/2020

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