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Science Operations for the Wide-Field Instrument of the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope

Presentation #216.01 in the session “Space Based Instrumentation and Catalogs”.

Published onJun 18, 2021
Science Operations for the Wide-Field Instrument of the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope

The 2.4m Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will be NASA’s next flagship astrophysics mission after JWST, with launch planned for the mid-2020s into an orbit around the second Sun-Earth Lagrange point (L2). Roman will have a primary mission lifetime of 5 years, and may have up to 5 more years of extended mission lifetime. Approximately 25% of the 5-year prime mission will be dedicated to General Observer (GO) programs, and 5% will be devoted to a coronagraphic technology demonstration. The remainder of the time will go to extragalactic wide area and time domain surveys to enable studies of dark energy, and a Galactic Bulge time domain survey to enable the search for exoplanets through microlensing. NASA also intends to fund archival researchers (General Investigators, or GIs) to support full scientific exploitation of the Roman data sets. The Wide Field Instrument (WFI) will be a powerful survey instrument, with comparable sensitivity and resolution to Hubble, but with a field of view 100 times larger. A K-band filter was recently added to extend the red end of the wavelength coverage, and yielding a total range from 0.5 to 2.3 microns. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) is the Science Operations Center (SOC) for Roman, with leadership over the mission’s scheduling, archive, and most WFI-imaging related systems (including data processing, calibration, user support). The Roman Project Office is at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and STScI shares science support responsibilities with the IPAC Science Support Center (SSC) and international partners. STScI is developing simulation tools to aid the astronomical community in exploring the capabilities of the WFI including a point-spread function (PSF) simulator, an exposure time calculator, and an image simulator. Furthermore, concepts for Roman operations are being developed at STScI that include a data management system incorporating a cloud-based framework for high-level data processing, a database of empirical PSFs and companion software to facilitate common operations, and high-level catalogs with some value-added fields.


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