pwv_kpno: A Python Package for Modeling the Atmospheric Transmission Function due to Precipitable Water Vapor
We present a Python package, pwv_kpno, which provides models for the atmospheric transmission due to precipitable water vapor (PWV) at user-specified sites. Using the package, ground-based photometric observations taken between 3000 and 12,000 Å can be corrected for atmospheric effects due to PWV. Atmospheric transmission in the optical and near-infrared is highly dependent on the PWV column density along the line of sight. By measuring the delay of dual-band GPS signals through the atmosphere, the SuomiNet project provides accurate PWV measurements for hundreds of locations around the world. The pwv_kpno package uses published SuomiNet data in conjunction with MODTRAN models to determine the modeled, time-dependent atmospheric transmission. A dual-band GPS system was installed at Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) in the spring of 2015. Using measurements from this receiver we demonstrate that we can successfully predict the PWV at KPNO from nearby dual-band GPS stations on the surrounding desert floor. The pwv_kpno package can thus provide atmospheric transmission functions for observations taken before the KPNO receiver was installed. Using PWV measurements from the desert floor, we correctly model PWV absorption features present in spectra taken at KPNO. We also demonstrate how to configure the package for use at other observatories.