Default Parallels: The Science Potential of JWST Parallel Observations During TSO Primary Observations
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will observe several stars for long cumulative durations while pursuing exoplanets as primary science targets for both Guaranteed Time Observations (GTO) and very likely General Observer (GO) programs. Here we argue in favor of an automatic default parallel program to observe, e.g., using the F200W/F277W filters or grism of NIRCAM/NIRISS in order to find high redshift (z ≫ 10) galaxies, cool red/brown dwarf substellar objects, solar system objects, and observations of serendipitous planetary transits. We argue here the need for automated exploratory astrophysical observations with unused JWST instruments during these long-duration exoplanet observations. Randomized fields that are observed in parallel mode reduce errors due to cosmic variance more effectively than single continuous fields of a typical wedding cake observing strategy. Hence, we argue that the proposed automated survey will explore a unique and rich discovery space in the high-redshift universe, Galactic structure, and solar system. We show that the GTO and highly probable GO target list of exoplanets covers the Galactic disk/halo and high redshift universe, mostly well out of the plane of the disk of the Milky Way. Exposure times are of the order of the CEERS GTO medium-deep survey in a single filter, comparable to CANDELS in Hubble Space Telescope's surveys and deep fields. The area covered by NIRISS and NIRCam combined could accumulate to a half square degree surveyed.
Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
- Pub Date:
- November 2019
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics
- 19 pages, 5 figures, 2 tables, accepted for publication by PASP