Instructions for Filling Out the NIRSPEC Application Form



The KECK/NIRSPEC application form is designed to be straightforward to understand and to fill out. The following general rules must be followed.



    a. This should be understandable to astronomers who are not in your field.

    b. Include references where appropriate.

    c. The 600 word (~60 line) maximum is a soft limit, but please do not go far beyond it.


    a. Use 2000 coordinates if possible; if not, change the table header accordingly.

    b. At minimum your coordinates must be accurate to 0.1 sec and 1 arcsec.

    c. Provide a V or R magnitude, or a limit. It may be useful in identifying the object on NIRSPEC's CCD camera.

    d. Provide a continuum magnitude in the relevant filter (e.g., K=19.5), and/or a line flux in Wm-2 (e.g., F(Br gamma)=3.6E-19).

    e. Footnotes should be a,b,c,.... and be should be written at the bottom of the table. These may be used e.g. to give further details of the optical or IR appearance, information on how to acquire the field (if field is confusing).

    f. If the target is too faint to detect on the slit-viewing camera (SCAM), i.e. if the target is fainter than 18 at J, 17 at H, or 16 at K, then an accurate offset from a nearby star brighter than the above must be provided in the notes and a finding chart should be included with the application.


    a. Complete one line for each instrument configuration and one for each source. I.e., use two lines if source A is to be observe at two different wavelength ranges or at two different resolutions. E.g., if you want 1.15-1.60um (which cannot be obtained in one grating setting) use two lines, one with 1.14-1.36um and blocking filter N3 and the other with 1.35-1.61um and blocking filter N5. Also use two lines if sources A and B are to be observed, even if the instrument configuration is identical. See the NIRSPEC configurations page for information about allowable wavelength ranges, blocking filters, and slit widths. For each echelle observation be sure to indicate the number of settings (see the Observing Considerations page and/or the Sensivity page for further information). Specify the slit angle or leave blank if not critical

    b. Do not include observations of calibration stars, flats, and arc lamps here.

    c. The slit position angle should be given in degrees East of North.

    d. Nod info: indicate whether the telescope nod should be along the slit or to sky (in the latter case provide both a direction and an angular distance). For targets that are point sources or are small compared to the slit length it is usually best to nod along the slit, because then the target is observed all of the time. For larger targets it is necessary to nod to sky.

    e. Footnotes should be a,b,c,.... and be should be written at the bottom of the table. These may be used e.g. to give further details of the observation, special circumstances, etc.


    You must convince the assessors of the appropriateness of the S/N that you require. The estimated integration time listed in item 6 should be derived from this, using the sensitivity tables. If the target is extended you must provide an estimate the signal in the slit so that the technical assessors can follow your calculation.

    Note that with the echelle, in order to obtain full spectral coverage of a specified wavelength band, multiple echelle settings generally are required and the integration time must be multiplied by the number of settings.


    Indicate quantitatively if especially dry conditions or exceptional image quality is required; otherwise leave the form blank. Note that if your sources are bright they may be observed in moderately non-photometric conditions if the observers judge that the data will be of acceptable quality.


    The observers will perform standard wavelength calibrations and will select appropriate spectroscopic standards (estimated photometric magnitudes are probably accurate to 10%) for ratioing and approximate flux calibration. If that is sufficient, leave the form blank. If your observations require more than that, or if you wish to specify the calibrations to be performed, provide details here. Note that because of its narrow slits NIRSPEC is not a photometric instrument. Observations of photometric standards may be specially requested but spectro-photometric results are not guaranteed. The observers will emphasize matching airmasses of sources and calibration stars over observing a photometric standard, unless directed otherwise.

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Last update March 15, 2001; Tom Geballe