Modeling Ultracool Brown Dwarfs with the James Webb Space Telescope | AIChE

Modeling Ultracool Brown Dwarfs with the James Webb Space Telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), an international effort between NASA, European Space Agency (ESA), and Canadian Space Agency (CSA), will launch in 2018 with the intent to observe our universe from up to 1 million miles away from Earth. To enable these observations, JWST consists of a telescope, an instrument package, a spacecraft, and a sunshield. The instrument package, or the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM), contains the four main instruments used to observe deep space: Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), Near-Infrared Spectograph (NIRSpec), Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI), and Fine Guidance Sensor/Near InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (FGS/NIRISS).

The Early Release Science (ERS) program has been created in order to give the scientific community access to the JWST science observations using the four instruments aboard as early as 2019 in Cycle 1 of the mission. The purpose of doing these initial observations, which will become immediately public, is to procure representative datasets and deal with technical challenges that may arise with the varying instrumental modes on JWST. The main goals to be accomplished for brown dwarfs through the ERS program include: a possible 20-30 hour proposal, obtaining mid-infrared spectroscopy and photometry of some representative brown dwarfs with a range of temperatures and surface gravities, enabling future larger proposals, test models, and to inform the interpretation of expensive exoplanet spectra. With these goals in mind, we are currently investing brown dwarfs of interest in the correct regions of the sky and modeling what we could expect to see using the MIRI IR Imaging Exposure Time Calculator (ETC).