NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #5158

Status Report From: Space Telescope Science Institute
Posted: Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Continuing to Collect World Class Science

PERIOD COVERED: 5am August 11 - 5am August 12, 2010 (DOY 223/09:00z-224/09:00z)


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

HSTARS: (None)



FGS GSAcq 5 5
FGS REAcq 11 11
OBAD with Maneuver 3 3



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.


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.

ACS/WFC3 11670

The Host Environments of Type Ia Supernovae in the SDSS Survey

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey Supernova Survey has discovered nearly 500 type Ia supernovae and created a large, unique, and uniform sample of these cosmological tools. As part of a comprehensive study of the supernova hosts, we propose to obtain Hubble ACS images of a large fraction of these galaxies. Integrated colors and spectra will be measured from the ground, but we require high-resolution HST imaging to provide accurate morphologies and color information at the site of the explosion. This information is essential in determining the systematic effects of population age on type Ia supernova luminosities and improving their reliability in measuring dark energy. Recent studies suggest two populations of type Ia supernovae: a class that explodes promptly after star-formation and one that is delayed by billions of years. Measuring the star-formation rate at the site of the supernova from colors in the HST images may be the best way to differentiate between these classes.

ACS/WFC3 11735

The LSD Project: Dynamics, Merging and Stellar Populations of a Sample of Well-Studied LBGs at z~3

A large observational effort with the ground-based ESO/VLT telescopes allowed us to obtain deep, spatially-resolved, near-IR spectra of complete sample of 11 Lyman-Break Galaxies at z~3.1. These observations were used to obtain, for the first time, the metallicity and the dynamical properties of a sample of objects that, albeit small, is representative of the total population of the LBGs. We propose to use HST to obtain high-resolution optical and near-IR images of this sample of LBGs in order to study the broad-band morphology and the stellar light distribution of these galaxies. These images, exploiting the superior spatial resolution of HST images and the low-background : 1- will allow a precise measure of the dynamical mass from the velocity field derived with spectroscopy; 2- will permit a comparison of the distribution of star formation (from the line emission) with the underlying stellar population, and, 3- will be used to check if the complex velocity field and the multiple line-emitting regions detected in most targets can be ascribed to on-going mergers. This accurate study will shed light on a number of unsolved problems still affecting the knowledge of the LBGs.

COS/NUV 11705

Physical Properties of Quasar Outflows: From BALs to Mini-BALs

Accretion disk outflows are important components of quasar environments. They might play a major role in facilitating accretion, regulating star formation in the host galaxies and distributing metals to the surrounding gas. They reveal themselves most conspicuously via broad absorption lines (BALs), but they appear even more frequently in other guises such as the weaker and narrower "mini-BALs." How are these diverse outflow features related? Are mini-BALs really just "mini" versions of the BALs, or do they represent a fundamentally different type of outflow, with different degrees of ionization, column densities, mass loss rates, physical origins, etc.?

We propose HST-COS spectroscopy to make the first quantitative assessment of the outflow physical conditions across the full range of weak/narrow mini-BALs to strong/broad BALs. Our strategy is to measure key diagnostic lines (SVI, OVI, CIII, SIV, PV, etc.) at 930A - 1130A (rest- frame) in a sample of 7 outflow quasars with known mini-BALs through weak BALs. We will then 1) combine the COS data with ground-based spectra of the same quasars to include more lines (CIV, SiIV) at longer wavelengths, and 2) include in our analysis a nearly identical UV/optical dataset obtained previously for a sample of quasars with strong BALs. Our study of this combined dataset will be an essential next step toward a more global understanding of quasar outflows.

NIC2/WFC3/IR 11548

Infrared Imaging of Protostars in the Orion A Cloud: The Role of Environment in Star Formation

We propose NICMOS and WFC3/IR observations of a sample of 252 protostars identified in the Orion A cloud with the Spitzer Space Telescope. These observations will image the scattered light escaping the protostellar envelopes, providing information on the shapes of outflow cavities, the inclinations of the protostars, and the overall morphologies of the envelopes. In addition, we ask for Spitzer time to obtain 55-95 micron spectra of 75 of the protostars. Combining these new data with existing 3.6 to 70 micron photometry and forthcoming 5-40 micron spectra measured with the Spitzer Space Telescope, we will determine the physical properties of the protostars such as envelope density, luminosity, infall rate, and outflow cavity opening angle. By examining how these properties vary with stellar density (i.e. clusters vs. groups vs. isolation) and the properties of the surrounding molecular cloud; we can directly measure how the surrounding environment influences protostellar evolution, and consequently, the formation of stars and planetary systems. Ultimately, this data will guide the development of a theory of protostellar evolution.

STIS/CCD 11845

CCD Dark Monitor Part 2

Monitor the darks for the STIS CCD.

STIS/CCD 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.

WFC3/ACS/IR 11563

Galaxies at z~7-10 in the Reionization Epoch: Luminosity Functions to <0.2L* from Deep IR Imaging of the HUDF and HUDF05 Fields

The first generations of galaxies were assembled around redshifts z~7-10+, just 500-800 Myr after recombination, in the heart of the reionization of the universe. We know very little about galaxies in this period. Despite great effort with HST and other telescopes, less than ~15 galaxies have been reliably detected so far at z>7, contrasting with the ~1000 galaxies detected to date at z~6, just 200-400 Myr later, near the end of the reionization epoch. WFC3 IR can dramatically change this situation, enabling derivation of the galaxy luminosity function and its shape at z~7-8 to well below L*, measurement of the UV luminosity density at z~7-8 and z~8-9, and estimates of the contribution of galaxies to reionization at these epochs, as well as characterization of their properties (sizes, structure, colors). A quantitative leap in our understanding of early galaxies, and the timescales of their buildup, requires a total sample of ~100 galaxies at z~7-8 to ~29 AB mag. We can achieve this with 192 WFC3 IR orbits on three disjoint fields (minimizing cosmic variance): the HUDF and the two nearby deep fields of the HUDF05. Our program uses three WFC3 IR filters, and leverages over 600 orbits of existing ACS data, to identify, with low contamination, a large sample of over 100 objects at z~7-8, a very useful sample of ~23 at z~8-9, and limits at z~10. By careful placement of the WFC3 IR and parallel ACS pointings, we also enhance the optical ACS imaging on the HUDF and a HUDF05 field. We stress (1) the need to go deep, which is paramount to define L*, the shape, and the slope alpha of the luminosity function (LF) at these high redshifts; and (2) the far superior performance of our strategy, compared with the use of strong lensing clusters, in detecting significant samples of faint z~7-8 galaxies to derive their luminosity function and UV ionizing flux. Our recent z~7.4 NICMOS results show that wide-area IR surveys, even of GOODS-like depth, simply do not reach faint enough at z~7-9 to meet the LF and UV flux objectives. In the spirit of the HDF and the HUDF, we will waive any proprietary period, and will also deliver the reduced data to STScI. The proposed data will provide a Legacy resource of great value for a wide range of archival science investigations of galaxies at redshifts z~2-9. The data are likely to remain the deepest IR/optical images until JWST is launched, and will provide sources for spectroscopic follow up by JWST, ALMA and EVLA.

WFC3/IR/S/C 11929

IR Dark Current Monitor

Analyses of ground test data showed that dark current signals are more reliably removed from science data using darks taken with the same exposure sequences as the science data, than with a single dark current image scaled by desired exposure time. Therefore, dark current images must be collected using all sample sequences that will be used in science observations. These observations will be used to monitor changes in the dark current of the WFC3-IR channel on a day-to-day basis, and to build calibration dark current ramps for each of the sample sequences to be used by Gos in Cycle 17. For each sample sequence/array size combination, a median ramp will be created and delivered to the calibration database system (CDBS).

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).

WFC3/UVIS/IR 11702

Search for Very High-z Galaxies with WFC3 Pure Parallel

WFC3 will provide an unprecedented probe to the early universe beyond the current redshift frontier. Here we propose a pure parallel program using this new instrument to search for Lyman-break galaxies at 6.5< z<8.8 and to probe the epoch of reionization, a hallmark event in the history of the early universe. We request 200 orbits, spreading over 30 ~ 50 high Galactic latitude visits (|b|>20deg) that last for 4 orbits and longer, resulting a total survey area of about 140~230 square arcminute. Based on our understanding of the new HST parallel observation scheduling process, we believe that the total number of long-duration pure parallel visits in Cycle 17 should be sufficient to accommodate our program. We waive all proprietary rights to our data, and will also make the enhanced data products public in a timely manner.

(1) We will use both the UVIS and the IR channels, and do not need to seek optical data from elsewhere.

(2) Our program will likely triple the size of the probable candidate samples at z~7 and z~8, and will complement other targeted programs aiming at the similar redshift range.

(3) Being a pure parallel program, our survey will only make very limited demand on the scarce HST resources. More importantly, as the pure parallel pointings will be at random sight-lines, our program will be least affected by the bias due to the large scale structure ("cosmic variance").

(4) We aim at the most luminous LBG population, and will address the bright-end of the luminosity function at z~8 and z~7. We will constrain the value of L* in particular, which is critical for understanding the star formation process and the stellar mass assembly history in the first few hundred million years of the universe.

(5) The candidates from our survey, most of which will be the brightest ones that any surveys would be able to find, will have the best chance to be spectroscopically confirmed at the current 8--10m telescopes.

(6) We will also find a large number of extremely red, old galaxies at intermediate redshifts, and the fine spatial resolution offered by the WFC3 will enable us constrain their formation history based on the study of their morphology, and hence shed light on their connection to the very early galaxies in the universe.

// end //

More status reports and news releases or top stories.

Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.

SpaceRef Newsletter