1.3 Handbook Layout

To guide you through STIS' capabilities and help optimize your scientific use of the instrument we have divided this Handbook into four parts:

  • Part I - Introduction
  • Part II - User's Guide
  • Part III - Supporting Material
  • Part IV - Calibration

Figure 1.2 provides a road map of this Handbook.
The Supporting Material and Calibration sections contain technical information which supports the material found in the User's Guide; readers are referred to the information at appropriate points in the User's Guide.

Figure 1.2: Handbook Roadmap.

The chapters in this Handbook are as follows:

  • Part I: Introduction
    • Chapter 1, Introduction, includes information about getting help and where to find additional information about STIS.
    • Chapter 2, Special Considerations for Cycle 32, describes special policy considerations for using STIS during Cycle 32. A comparison is provided between STIS and COS capabilities.

  • Part II: User's Guide
    • Chapter 3, STIS Capabilities, Design, Operations, and Observations, provides an overview of STIS' full capabilities. Discussion is provided to help guide you through the technical details you need to consider in choosing the optimum STIS configuration and in determining the number of orbits to request.
    • Chapter 4, Spectroscopy, provides a detailed, grating-by-grating description of STIS' spectroscopic capabilities, including spectral resolutions, throughputs, and descriptions of the slits and apertures.
    • Chapter 5, Imaging, provides a detailed, filter-by-filter description of STIS' imaging capabilities.
    • Chapter 6, Exposure Time Calculations, describes how to perform signal-to-noise and exposure time calculations, either by using pencil and paper, or by using the software tools provided on the STIS website.

    • Chapter 7, Feasibility and Detector Performance, provides a description of the three detectors and their physical characteristics, capabilities, and limitations, including saturation, linearity, and bright object limits.

    • Chapter 8, Target Acquisition, helps you select the optimum target acquisition sequence needed to place the target in the desired science aperture.

    • Chapter 9, Overheads and Orbit-Time Determination, provides information needed to convert a series of planned science exposures to an estimated number of orbits, including spacecraft and STIS overheads. This chapter applies principally to the planning of Phase I proposals.

    • Chapter 10, Summary and Checklist, presents a summary and a checklist you should use to assure that there are no major omissions in your Phase I and Phase II proposals.

  • Part III: Supporting Material
    • Chapter 11, Data Taking, describes data-taking with STIS, including the instrument operating modes (ACCUM, TIME-TAG), the use of subarrays and binning, and the various types of "associated" observations and contemporaneous calibrations (WAVECALS, CCDFLATS, CR-SPLIT, PATTERNS). This chapter also discusses dithering and how to orient the long slits.
    • Chapter 12, Special Uses of STIS, provides information on special science uses of STIS, including slitless spectroscopy, long-slit echelle spectroscopy, time-resolved spectroscopy and imaging, observations of very bright targets, techniques for obtaining higher signal-to-noise and spectral sampling, observations of planetary objects, parallel observing, coronagraphic spectroscopy and imaging, and spatial scanning with the CCD.
    • Chapter 13, Spectroscopic Reference Material, contains the detailed plots of sensitivities, line spread functions, aperture throughputs, and the tables of bright object limits referred to in Chapter 4.
    • Chapter 14, Imaging Reference Material, contains the detailed plots of sensitivities, point spread functions, aperture throughputs, and the tables of bright object limits referred to in Chapter 5.
  • Part IV: Calibration
    • Chapter 15, Overview of Pipeline Calibration, briefly describes the processing of STIS data by the STScI pipeline and the products that are sent to observers.
    • Chapter 16, Accuracies, summarizes the accuracies for STIS data calibrated by the STScI pipeline.
    • Chapter 17, Calibration Status and Plans, provides an overview of the current state of STIS calibration and development plans for the immediate future.