NASA's James Webb Space Telescope

ERS Program 1345

The Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science (CEERS) Survey

PI: Steven L. Finkelstein (University of Texas at Austin)
Co-PIs: N/A

Science Category Galaxies and Intergalactic Medium icon
Keywords Dust, Emission-Line Galaxies, Galaxy Formation and Evolution, Spectral Energy Distributions, Structure and Morphology
Investigators Mark Dickinson (National Optical Astronomy Observatory, AURA)
Harry C. Ferguson (Space Telescope Science Institute)
Andrea Grazian (INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma)
Norman Grogin (Space Telescope Science Institute)
Jeyhan Kartaltepe (Rochester Institute of Technology)
Lisa Kewley (Australian National University)
Dale D. Kocevski (Colby College)
Anton M. Koekemoer (Space Telescope Science Institute)
Jennifer Lotz (Space Telescope Science Institute)
Casey Papovich (Texas A & M University)
Laura Pentericci (INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma)
Pablo G. Perez-Gonzalez (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)
Norbert Pirzkal (Space Telescope Science Institute)
Swara Ravindranath (Space Telescope Science Institute)
Rachel S. Somerville (Rutgers the State University of New Jersey)
Jonathan R. Trump (University of Connecticut)
Stephen Matthew Wilkins (University of Sussex)

We propose the Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science (CEERS) Survey, which covers 100 sq. arcmin with JWST imaging and spectroscopy, and is designed to achieve the DD-ERS goals. CEERS will inform the selection of a wide variety of spectroscopic targets for Cycle 2 with a practical choice of imaging area, depth, and wavelength coverage, targeting a field that is supported by a rich set of HST/CANDELS multi-wavelength data.

CEERS will demonstrate, test, and validate efficient extragalactic surveys with coordinated, overlapping parallel observations with the JWST instrument suite, including NIRCam and MIRI imaging, NIRSpec R~100 and R~1000 spectroscopy, and NIRCam slitless grism (R~1500) spectroscopy.  These tests enable Cycle 2 observations, including validating JWST parallel observing modes, dither and exposure-time strategies, and spectroscopic observing modes including slit-loss corrections.

CEERS enables immediate community science into both extragalactic JWST science drivers “First Light and Reionization” and “The Assembly of
Galaxies,” including:

  1. The discovery of 20-80 galaxies at z~9-13, constraining their abundance and physical nature;  
  2. Deep spectra  of >400 galaxies at z>3, including 40 known candidates at 6<z<9, enabling redshifts and constraints on physical conditions of star-formation and black hole growth via line diagnostics;
  3. Quantifying the first bulge and disk structures at z>3; and
  4. Characterizing galaxy mid-IR emission to study dust-obscured star-formation and supermassive black hole growth at z~1-3. 

The CEERS collaboration is diverse on many axes with demonstrated expertise in rapid delivery of high-level science products.

Instrument and Mode MIRI: Imaging
NIRCam: Wide Field Slitless Spectroscopy; Imaging
NIRSpec: Multi-object Spectroscopy
What does the program enable for the user community?
  • Science: 1-5um imaging over 100 arcmin^2, 5-20 um imaging over 2-4 MIRI fields, 1-5um NIRSpec R~100 and R~1000 slit spectroscopy over ~300 galaxies, and slitless NIRCam spectroscopy over ~40 arcmin^2.
  • Data: Rapid reduction and release prior to Cycle 2 call; first catalogs released six months after data acquisition.
  • Technical: Validate coordinated parallel strategies; empirically measure NIRSpec MSA slit losses.
How will you engage the user community? Online talks, local in-person workshops, Google Hangouts and blog, website
Team website URL