NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #5146

Status Report From: Space Telescope Science Institute
Posted: Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Continuing to Collect World Class Science

PERIOD COVERED: 5am July 26 - 5am July 27, 2010 (DOY 207/09:00z-208/09:00z)


Significant Spacecraft Anomalies: (The following are preliminary reports of potential non-nominal performance that will be investigated.)

HSTARS: (None)



FGS GSAcq 8 8
FGS REAcq 9 9
OBAD with Maneuver 5 5



ACS/WFC 11996

CCD Daily Monitor (Part 3)

This program comprises basic tests for measuring the read noise and dark current of the ACS WFC and for tracking the growth of hot pixels. The recorded frames are used to create bias and dark reference images for science data reduction and calibration. This program will be executed four days per week (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun) for the duration of Cycle 17. To facilitate scheduling, this program is split into three proposals. This proposal covers 308 orbits (19.25 weeks) from 21 June 2010 to 1 November 2010.

COS/FUV 11895

FUV Detector Dark Monitor

Monitor the FUV detector dark rate by taking long science exposures without illuminating the detector. The detector dark rate and spatial distribution of counts will be compared to pre-launch and SMOV data in order to verify the nominal operation of the detector. Variations of count rate as a function of orbital position will be analyzed to find dependence of dark rate on proximity to the SAA. Dependence of dark rate as function of time will also be tracked.


Testing the Origin(s) of the Highly Ionized High-Velocity Clouds: A Survey of Galactic Halo Stars at z>3 kpc

Cosmological simulation predicts that highly ionized gas plays an important role in the formation and evolution of galaxies and their interplay with the intergalactic medium. The NASA HST and FUSE missions have revealed high-velocity CIV and OVI absorption along extragalactic sightlines through the Galactic halo. These highly ionized high-velocity clouds (HVCs) could cover 85% of the sky and have a detection rate higher than the HI HVCs. Two competing, equally exciting, theories may explain the origin of these highly ionized HVCs: 1) the "Galactic" theory, where the HVCs are the result of feedback processes and trace the disk-halo mass exchange, perhaps including the accretion of matter condensing from an extended corona; 2) the "Local Group" theory, where they are part of the local warm-hot intergalactic medium, representing some of the missing baryonic matter of the Universe. Only direct distance determinations can discriminate between these models. Our group has found that some of these highly ionized HVCs have a Galactic origin, based on STIS observations of one star at z<5.3 kpc. We propose an HST FUV spectral survey to search for and characterize the high velocity NV, CIV, and SiIV interstellar absorption toward 24 stars at much larger distances than any previous searches (4
COS/NUV 11894

NUV Detector Dark Monitor

The purpose of this proposal is to measure the NUV detector dark rate by taking long science exposures with no light on the detector. The detector dark rate and spatial distribution of counts will be compared to pre-launch and SMOV data in order to verify the nominal operation of the detector. Variations of count rate as a function of orbital position will be analyzed to find dependence of dark rate on proximity to the SAA. Dependence of dark rate as function of time will also be tracked.

COS/NUV 11896

NUV Spectroscopic Sensitivity Monitoring

The purpose of this proposal is to monitor sensitivity of each NUV grating mode to detect any changes due to contamination or other causes.

STIS/CC 11845

CCD Dark Monitor Part 2

Monitor the darks for the STIS CCD.

STIS/CC 11847

CCD Bias Monitor-Part 2

Monitor the bias in the 1x1, 1x2, 2x1, and 2x2 bin settings at gain=1, and 1x1 at gain = 4, to build up high-S/N superbiases and track the evolution of hot columns.

STIS/CCD 11721

Verifying the Utility of Type Ia Supernovae as Cosmological Probes: Evolution and Dispersion in the Ultraviolet Spectra

The study of distant type Ia supernova (SNe Ia) offers the most practical and immediate discriminator between popular models of dark energy. Yet fundamental questions remain over possible redshift-dependent trends in their observed and intrinsic properties. High-quality Keck spectroscopy of a representative sample of 36 intermediate redshift SNe Ia has revealed a surprising, and unexplained, diversity in their rest-frame UV fluxes. One possible explanation is hitherto undiscovered variations in the progenitor metallicity. Unfortunately, this result cannot be compared to local UV data as only two representative SNe Ia have been studied near maximum light. Taking advantage of two new `rolling searches' and the restoration of STIS, we propose a non-disruptive TOO campaign to create an equivalent comparison local sample. This will allow us to address possible evolution in the mean UV spectrum and its diversity, an essential precursor to the study of SNe beyond z~1.

STIS/CCD 11852

STIS CCD Spectroscopic Flats C17

The purpose of this proposal is to obtain pixel-to-pixel lamp flat fields for the STIS CCD in spectroscopic mode.


A Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury - I

We propose to image the north east quadrant of M31 to deep limits in the UV, optical, and near-IR. HST imaging should resolve the galaxy into more than 100 million stars, all with common distances and foreground extinctions. UV through NIR stellar photometry (F275W, F336W with WFC3/UVIS, F475W and F814W with ACS/WFC, and F110W and F160W with WFC3/NIR) will provide effective temperatures for a wide range of spectral types, while simultaneously mapping M31's extinction. Our central science drivers are to: understand high-mass variations in the stellar IMF as a function of SFR intensity and metallicity; capture the spatially-resolved star formation history of M31; study a vast sample of stellar clusters with a range of ages and metallicities. These are central to understanding stellar evolution and clustered star formation; constraining ISM energetics; and understanding the counterparts and environments of transient objects (novae, SNe, variable stars, x-ray sources, etc.). As its legacy, this survey adds M31 to the Milky Way and Magellanic Clouds as a fundamental calibrator of stellar evolution and star-formation processes for understanding the stellar populations of distant galaxies. Effective exposure times are 977s in F275W, 1368s in F336W, 4040s in F475W, 4042s in F814W, 699s in F110W, and 1796s in F160W, including short exposures to avoid saturation of bright sources. These depths will produce photon-limited images in the UV. Images will be crowding-limited in the optical and NIR, but will reach below the red clump at all radii. The images will reach the Nyquist sampling limit in F160W, F475W, and F814W.

WFC3/UVIS 11707

Detecting Isolated Black Holes through Astrometric Microlensing

This proposal aims to make the first detection of isolated stellar-mass black holes (BHs) in the Milky Way, and to determine their masses. Until now, the only directly measured BH masses have come from radial-velocity measurements of X-ray binaries. Our proposed method uses the astrometric shifts that occur when a galactic-bulge microlensing event is caused by a BH lens. Out of the hundreds of bulge microlensing events found annually by the OGLE and MOA surveys, a few are found to have very long durations (>200 days). It is generally believed that the majority of these long-duration events are caused by lenses that are isolated BHs.

To test this hypothesis, we will carry out high-precision astrometry of 5 long-duration events, using the ACS/HRC camera. The expected astrometric signal from a BH lens is >1.4 mas, at least 7 times the demonstrated astrometric precision attainable with the HRC.

This proposal will thus potentially lead to the first unambiguous detection of isolated stellar-mass BHs, and the first direct mass measurement for isolated stellar-mass BHs through any technique. Detection of several BHs will provide information on the frequency of BHs in the galaxy, with implications for the slope of the IMF at high masses, the minimum mass of progenitors that produce BHs, and constraints on theoretical models of BH formation.

WFC3/UVIS 11903

UVIS Photometric Zero Points

This proposal obtains the photometric zero points in 53 of the 62 UVIS/WFC3 filters: the 18 broad-band filters, 8 medium-band filters, 16 narrow-band filters, and 11 of the 20 quad filters (those being used in cycle 17). The observations will be primary obtained by observing the hot DA white dwarf standards GD153 and G191-B2B. A redder secondary standard, P330E, will be observed in a subset of the filters to provide color corrections. Repeat observations in 16 of the most widely used cycle 17 filters will be obtained once per month for the first three months, and then once every second month for the duration of cycle 17, alternating and depending on target availability. These observations will enable monitoring of the stability of the photometric system. Photometric transformation equations will be calculated by comparing the photometry of stars in two globular clusters, 47 Tuc and NGC 2419, to previous measurements with other telescopes/instruments.

WFC3/UVIS 11905

WFC3 UVIS CCD Daily Monitor

The behavior of the WFC3 UVIS CCD will be monitored daily with a set of full-frame, four-amp bias and dark frames. A smaller set of 2Kx4K subarray biases are acquired at less frequent intervals throughout the cycle to support subarray science observations. The internals from this proposal, along with those from the anneal procedure (Proposal 11909), will be used to generate the necessary superbias and superdark reference files for the calibration pipeline (CDBS).

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