A CALIBRATION OF NICMOS CAMERA 2 FOR LOW COUNT RATES
Number of Authors: 22
2015 (English)In: Astronomical Journal, ISSN 0004-6256, E-ISSN 1538-3881, Vol. 149, no 5, 159Article in journal (Refereed) Published
NICMOS 2 observations are crucial for constraining distances to most of the existing sample of z > 1 SNe Ia. Unlike conventional calibration programs, these observations involve long exposure times and low count rates. Reciprocity failure is known to exist in HgCdTe devices and a correction for this effect has already been implemented for high and medium count rates. However, observations at faint count rates rely on extrapolations. Here instead, we provide a new zero-point calibration directly applicable to faint sources. This is obtained via inter-calibration of NIC2 F110W/F160W with the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) in the low count-rate regime using z similar to 1 elliptical galaxies as tertiary calibrators. These objects have relatively simple near-IR spectral energy distributions, uniform colors, and their extended nature gives a superior signal-to-noise ratio at the same count rate than would stars. The use of extended objects also allows greater tolerances on point-spread function profiles. We find space telescope magnitude zero points (after the installation of the NICMOS cooling system, NCS) of 25.296 +/- 0.022 for F110W and 25.803 +/- 0.023 for F160W, both in agreement with the calibration extrapolated from count rates greater than or similar to 1000 times larger (25.262 and 25.799). Before the installation of the NCS, we find 24.843 +/- 0.025 for F110W and 25.498 +/- 0.021 for F160W, also in agreement with the high-count-rate calibration (24.815 and 25.470). We also check the standard bandpasses of WFC3 and NICMOS 2 using a range of stars and galaxies at different colors and find mild tension for WFC3, limiting the accuracy of the zero points. To avoid human bias, our cross-calibration was blinded in that the fitted zero-point differences were hidden until the analysis was finalized.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 149, no 5, 159
supernovae: general, techniques: photometric
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-117780DOI: 10.1088/0004-6256/149/5/159ISI: 000354065200010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-117780DiVA: diva2:817536