JWST at the 235th American Astronomical Society Meeting

Fri 3 Jan 2020
Wed 8 Jan 2020

Honolulu, HI (Hawaii Convention Center)


The 235th American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting will include updates and events to help the astronomical community prepare for JWST science. 

JWST Proposal Preparation Workshop

When: Friday, January 3, 2020 (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), set to launch in 2021, will revolutionize our understanding of the universe with its unprecedented sensitivity and angular resolution at infrared wavelengths. This workshop will provide an overview of the JWST proposal and planning tools with a specific focus on the Exposure Time Calculator (ETC) and the Astronomer’s Proposal Tool (APT), as well as an overview of the resources available in the JWST User Documentation (JDox). In addition to seeing guided demonstrations, participants will take part in hands-on sessions and exercises to plan observations for selected science cases and observing modes. At the end of the workshop, a participant will be ready to use the JWST proposal tools to develop and submit a General Observer (GO) proposal.

Registration fee: $30, includes lunch


JWST Town Hall

When: Sunday, January 5, 2020 (6:30 to 8:00 p.m.)
6:30 p.m. (refreshments, provided courtesy of Northrop Grumman)
7:00 p.m. (presentations begin)

JWST will soon become the most powerful space telescope available to astronomical observers, serving a broad range of high priority science. As the 2020 call for Cycle 1 GO proposals approaches, the Winter 2020 AAS meeting provides an excellent opportunity for potential JWST GOs to gain a better understanding of the Cycle 1 science landscape and how to prepare the best proposals. In addition, we recognize the interest the community has in the progress toward launch of the observatory. The town hall will feature a presentation on JWST’s status, including updates on testing activities and JWST’s readiness for launch. The town hall will also provide the latest information regarding JWST user tools, observer’s documentation, and the science timeline for JWST Cycle 1. Other presenters include representatives from the JWST Project and JWST Users Committee. Ample time will be reserved for discussion with the community and to answer general questions related to proposing for JWST. 

View Town Hall Webcast


JWST Open House

When: Sunday, January 5; Monday, January 6; and Tuesday, January 7, 2020 (9:30 to 11:30 a.m.)

The Cycle 1 GO Call for Proposals for JWST will open on January 23. To help users begin planning and writing their proposals, STScI is hosting three 2-hour JWST Open House sessions at the AAS meeting, so users can drop in at their convenience. Each of the three sessions will highlight specific functionalities of JWST and provide hands-on activities and demonstrations, as well as an open forum and help center for general proposal planning topics. The second hour of each session will consist of an open forum for any questions about JWST proposal development. STScI staff will also be available to assist JWST proposers 1-on-1.

These sessions are intended to be supplemental to the more general full-day JWST workshop that is scheduled for January 3. However, attendance at the January 3 workshop is not a pre-requisite for participation in the Open House.

JWST Proposing Open House Session 1:  Integral Field Unit Observing
Sunday, January 5, 2020 
9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

The JWST Mid-Infrared Imager (MIRI) and the Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) both have Integral Field Units (IFUs) which combine imaging and spectroscopic capabilities to acquire spatially resolved 2-dimensional spectroscopy in a single astronomical exposure. During the first hour, IFU science use cases will be discussed; and there will be guided demonstrations of specifying IFU observations in the ETC and in the APT.

Session Materials:

     IFU Observing Presentation
     IFU_START APT file

JWST Proposing Open House Session 2:  Grism Observing
Monday, January 6, 2020
9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

The JWST Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS) offers low-resolution, wide-field grism spectroscopy and medium-resolution grism spectroscopy optimized for applications requiring extreme spectrophotometric stability. The Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) offers wide field grism spectroscopy as well as grism time-series observing modes for high accuracy spectrophotometric monitoring. During the first hour, grism science use cases will be discussed, and there will be guided demonstrations of specifying grism observations in the ETC and in the APT.

Session Materials:

     Grism Observing Presentation
     APT Guide for Grism Observing
     ETC Guide for Grism Observing
     Grism Knowledge Base FAQs 
     Grism Post-Demo APT file

JWST Proposing Open House Session 3:  NIRSpec Micro-Shutter Array
Tuesday, January 7, 2020
9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

The JWST NIRSpec Micro-Shutter Array (MSA) uses tiny configurable shutters to acquire dozens to hundreds of spectra of astronomical targets within a single exposure. This is a very powerful feature for spectroscopic surveys, but the MSA can be challenging to use. This workshop session will focus on proposal development for observations that use the MSA. Those considering such observations are encouraged to attend. The meeting will include guided demonstrations of the MSA Planning Tool in the APT.

Session Materials:

     NIRSpec MSA Presentation
     Planning MOS Observations
     MOS Science Examples
     HUDF_ordered_cat TXT file

Registration Fee: $0

JWST at the STScI Exhibitor Booth

January 4-7, during regular booth hours

We have many resources in the booth to step you through planning observations with JWST. Our expert staff members will be on hand to provide individual assistance on a variety of topics from JWST instrument capabilities to proposal and planning tools (e.g., APT and ETC) to pipeline products and data analysis tools.

Featured at the booth:

  • JWST Observatory and Instrument flyers
  • APT demos
  • ETC demos
  • Virtual Reality demonstrations
Important Dates:
September 25 Early bird registration deadline
October 8 Abstract regular deadline
October 29 Regular registration deadline

For technical assistance, please contact the JWST Help Desk.

The NASA James Webb Space Telescope, developed in partnership with ESA and CSA, is operated by AURA’s Space Telescope Science Institute.