JWST @ STScI Update

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

STScI is busy with rehearsals for the launch of JWST and the 6‑month-long commissioning phase. At the same time, staff is gearing up to support the Cycle 1 Call for Proposals for JWST to be issued on January 23, 2020. The suite of proposal tools is largely complete, final documentation is being reviewed, training materials being published, and training workshops are just around the corner. It is exciting to see the Science and Operations Center working in unison to support the reason for the existence of JWST; to enable ground-breaking science for the broad JWST community.

Master Class Update

Preparations for the JWST Master Class are well underway. Taking place at STScI in Baltimore on November 18–22, 2019, the Master Class is a "train-the-trainer"-style workshop for proposal planning, intended to seed our distributed observer community with local expertise. Each of the 28 Master Class participants will organize training events and workshops at their local communities in the months before the Cycle 1 deadline on May 1, 2020.

The Master Class consists of three different core elements: Homework exercises to prepare the participant for basic use of the JWST proposal planning tools, plenary sessions to provide background information about the proposal planning ecosystem (the Why?), and hands-on sessions to provide in-depth training on a range of observing modes (the How?). The homework, recorded plenaries, and other materials will be assembled into a “workshop-in-a-box” kit to be posted online for all to use before the Call for Proposals.

An ESA counterpart to the STScI Master Class will be held at the European Space Astronomy Centre in Madrid on February 3–5, 2020, followed by local training events across Europe.

JWST User Committee

The JWST User Committee (JSTUC) met on September 9–10, 2019. A theme of the meeting was a discussion of the future strategy for JWST data analysis. Following the meeting, the JSTUC sent a recommendation letter to STScI and the JWST project containing a number of recommendations, including an endorsement of the use of Python for data analysis and a proposed new sub-committee to advise STScI on the development of JWST data analysis tools.

This letter, as well as previous correspondence from the JSTUC to the institute, is posted on the JWST Observer website. The JSTUC welcomes feedback from the JWST Observer community by email on jstuc at stsci.edu.

JWST Data Analysis Survey

Between June 7 and August 2, 2019, STScI conducted a survey of the JWST Observer community, asking about expectations and training needs in the area of JWST data analysis. More than 400 respondents completed the survey, providing software development with important insight informing future priorities. Planning is underway of how to best provide documentation and training for data analysis so that the community will be well prepared to handle JWST science data as soon as it arrives beginning six months after launch. The results of the survey was discussed with the JSTUC in a presentation available on the JWST science website.

JWST activities at the last AAS before the Cycle 1 deadline

The upcoming 235th AAS meeting in Honolulu, HI is the last AAS before the Cycle 1 proposal deadline. As such, STScI has prepared a number of JWST events and training opportunities. These include a full-day proposal planning workshop on January 3, a JWST Town Hall, scheduled for January 5, and three topical open house sessions where potential observers can have their proposal planning questions answered by friendly experts. The STScI booth is also open for business throughout the meeting for all JWST proposal and science-related questions.