NASA's James Webb Space Telescope

The JWST Backgrounds Tool Is Now Available

News Feature December 4, 2017

Screenshot from the JWST backgrounds tool.

The background intensity is a critical parameter for estimating the performance of JWST. It is now much easier to inspect the JWST background model and to calculate the background levels as a function of time, using the JWST Backgrounds Tool (JBT). The JBT is a  Python module that accesses a copy of the pre-calculated background cache, hosted by the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST). 

It provides the following functionality for a given target (RA, DEC) and wavelength:

  • Plot the spectrum of the background intensity for that target on a given calendar day.
  • Plot the total background intensity for that target versus calendar day.
  • Compute the number of days per year that the target is observable at low background, for a given wavelength and a selectable threshold.

If more detailed parameter studies are needed, the tool is fully scriptable within Python.

You can access the tool on github. Documentation is available on JDox.