CEERS Epoch 1 NIRCam Imaging: Reduction Methods and Simulations Enabling Early JWST Science Results

Micaela B. Bagley, Steven L. Finkelstein, Anton M. Koekemoer, Henry C. Ferguson, Pablo Arrabal Haro, Mark Dickinson, Jeyhan S. Kartaltepe, Casey Papovich, Pablo G. Pérez-González, Nor Pirzkal, Rachel S. Somerville, Christopher N. A. Willmer, Guang Yang, L. Y. Aaron yung, Adriano Fontana, Andrea Grazian, Norman A. Grogin, Michaela Hirschmann, Lisa J. Kewley, Allison KirkpatrickDale D. Kocevski, Jennifer M. Lotz, Aubrey Medrano, Alexa M. Morales, Laura Pentericci, Swara Ravindranath, Jonathan R. Trump, Antonello Calabrò, M. C. Cooper, Luca Costantin, Alexander De la vega, Bryan Hilbert, Taylor A. Hutchison, Rebecca L. Larson, Ray A. Lucas, Elizabeth J. Mcgrath, Russell Ryan, Xin Wang, Stijn Wuyts, Stephen Wilkins

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We present the data release and data reduction process for the Epoch 1 NIRCam observations for the Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science Survey (CEERS). These data consist of NIRCam imaging in six broadband filters (F115W, F150W, F200W, F277W, F356W and F444W) and one medium-band filter (F410M) over four pointings, obtained in parallel with primary CEERS MIRI observations. We reduced the NIRCam imaging with the JWST Calibration Pipeline, with custom modifications and reduction steps designed to address additional features and challenges with the data. Here we provide a detailed description of each step in our reduction and a discussion of future expected improvements. Our reduction process includes corrections for known prelaunch issues such as 1/f noise, as well as in-flight issues including snowballs, wisps, and astrometric alignment. Many of our custom reduction processes were first developed with prelaunch simulated NIRCam imaging over the full 10 CEERS NIRCam pointings. We present a description of the creation and reduction of this simulated data set in the Appendix. We provide mosaics of the real images in a public release, as well as our reduction scripts with detailed explanations to allow users to reproduce our final data products. These represent one of the first official public data sets released from the Directors Discretionary Early Release Science (DD-ERS) program.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL12
Number of pages23
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the anonymous referee for a careful review and for helpful comments that improved this paper. We thank Nikko Cleri, Rosemary Coogan, Asantha Cooray, Carlos Gómez-Guijarro, Nimish Hathi, Benne Holwerda, and Marc Huertas-Company for a careful read of the manuscript. We thank the entire JWST team, including the engineers for making possible this wonderful overperforming telescope, the commissioning team for obtaining these early data, and the pipeline teams for their work over the years building and supporting the pipeline. The authors acknowledge the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at the University of Texas at Austin for providing HPC and visualization resources that have contributed to the research results reported within this paper. This work is based on observations with the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope obtained from the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Incorporated, under NASA contract NAS5-03127. We acknowledge support from NASA through STScI ERS award JWST-ERS-1345. We thank Zolt Levay for making the beautiful color images of the CEERS NIRCam and MIRI observations.


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