Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #3489

By SpaceRef Editor
November 14, 2003
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HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE

DAILY REPORT # 3489

PERIOD COVERED: DOY 316

OBSERVATIONS SCHEDULED

ACS 9984

Cosmic Shear With ACS Pure Parallels

Small distortions in the shapes of background galaxies by foreground
mass provide a powerful method of directly measuring the amount and
distribution of dark matter. Several groups have recently detected
this weak lensing by large-scale structure, also called cosmic shear.
The high resolution and sensitivity of HST/ACS provide a unique
opportunity to measure cosmic shear accurately on small scales. Using
260 parallel orbits in Sloan textiti {F775W} we will measure for the
first time: beginlistosetlength sep0cm setlengthemsep0cm setlength
opsep0cm em the cosmic shear variance on scales <0.7 arcmin, em the
skewness of the shear distribution, and em the magnification effect.
endlist Our measurements will determine the amplitude of the mass
power spectrum sigma_8Omega_m^0.5, with signal-to-noise {s/n} ~ 20,
and the mass density Omega_m with s/n=4. They will be done at small
angular scales where non-linear effects dominate the power spectrum,
providing a test of the gravitational instability paradigm for
structure formation. Measurements on these scales are not possible
from the ground, because of the systematic effects induced by PSF
smearing from seeing. Having many independent lines of sight reduces
the uncertainty due to cosmic variance, making parallel observations
ideal.

ACS/HRC 10050

ACS Earth Flats

High signal sky flats will be obtained by observing the bright Earth
with the HRC and WFC. These observations will be used to verify the
accuracy of the flats currently used by the pipeline and will provide
a comparison with flats derived via other techniques: L-flats from
stellar observations, sky flats from stacked GO observations, and
internal flats using the calibration lamps. Weekly coronographic
monitoring is required to assess the changing position of the spots.

ACS/HRC 9987

Coronagraphic search for disks around nearby stars

We will use the coronagraphic and imaging modes of the High Resolution
camera to study of the role of circumstellar disks in planetary system
formation over timescales of ~1-1000 Myr. Our targets comprise pre
Main-Sequence {MS} and MS stars, selected by infrared excess, and
targets selected from SIRTF surveys. Some targets, like Beta Pictoris
have debris disks that have been detected at optical or near-IR
wavelengths, while others have disks inferred from mid-IR or ISO
observations. We will obtain multicolor images of each target’s
circumstellar environment for the purpose of {1} detecting and
characterizing disk morphologies over all scales {including warps and
regions of enhanced or depleted density}, and {2} seeking evidence of
embedded planets. Direct and occulted images will be recorded for
studying the disks within 2 arcseconds of these targets; the
coronagraph will be used to image the outer regions of the disks.
Together with existing infrared observations, we will provide
constraints on the sizes, distribution, and composition of dust
grains.

ACS/HRC/WFC 10042

CCD Daily Monitor

This program consists of basic tests to monitor, the read noise, the
development of hot pixels and test for any source of noise in ACS CCD
detectors. This programme will be executed once a day for the entire
lifetime of ACS.

ACS/WFC 10054

ACS photometric Stability

A set of four spectrophotometric standard stars {GD71, G191B2B, GD153,
and HZ43} is observed once with ACS’s WFC and HRC through all filters,
except the ramp filters, to assess the sensitivity of the instrument
and measure accurate photometric zero points. The stars are placed at
the centre of the aperture, and two images are taken through each
filter. This programme is based on proposals 9020 and 9654 designed
for SMOV and Cycle 11, and also on programme 9563 from the interim
period. No RAMP filters are calibrated here. The exposure times have
been calculated to reach, on average, SNR~350 in the central pixel for
broad band filters.

ACS/WFC 9765

The Dusty ISM Substructure in Nearby Spiral Galaxies

We propose an ACS V&I imaging snapshot survey of all nearby edge-on
spiral galaxies in order to measure the small scale structures in
their dust extinction down to the 10pc scale. Dust and molecular gas
are tightly coupled and therefore HST high resolution reddening maps
can reveal information about the cold ISM phase on a scale
inaccessible from the groundby any other means. We have recently
discovered a sudden change in dust lane properties using ground-based
data; all galaxies with rotation speeds in access of 120km/s show dust
lanes, but none of the slower rotators does. This transition may be
caused by a sudden change in the state of the multiphase ISM, and HST
resolution imaging is needed to fully quantify this effect. Analysis
will consist of full radiative transfer modeling of dust extinction
with realistic, fractal like substructure and power spectrum analysis
of the structure from the global to the 10pc scale. By observing a
sample of galaxies with a range in structural parameters we can
quantify how the cold ISM structure changes as function of radius,
rotation speed, local surface density, et cetera. This information is
duly needed with SIRTF soon providing a wealth of information on dust
absorption, but lacking the resolution to determine the small scale
distribution of the dust.

ACS/WFC 9860

ESSENCE: Measuring the Dark Energy Equation of State

The accelerating universe appears to be dominated by a dark energy
with a significant negative pressure. The ratio of the pressure to
density of this mysterious energy {its equation of state} is an
observable which can differentiate between the proliferating candidate
theories. We propose to estimate the dark energy equation of state by
observing Type Ia supernovae at redshifts near z=0.7 with HST in
concert with the on-going ESSENCE NOAO Survey program that is
discovering and studying supernovae between 0.3<z<0.8. We show that an
interesting constraint on the equation of state can be made with
supernovae observed at modest redshifts given the current knowledge of
the matter density. We will follow 10 Type Ia supernovae discovered
from the ground and passed to HST without disrupting its schedule. The
full data set will constrain the equation of state to 10% and strictly
limit the range of possible dark energy models. In keeping with the
ESSENCE policy, th ese observations will available to the community
immediately.

HST 9382

A Large Targeted Survey for z < 1.6 Damped Lyman Alpha Lines in SDSS
QSO MgII-FeII Systems.

We have searched the first public release of SDSS QSO spectra for
low-z {z<1.65} metal absorption lines and found over 200 large rest
equivalent width MgII-FeII systems. Previously, we empirically showed
that such systems are good tracers of large neutral gas columns, with
~50% being classical damped Lyman alpha {DLA} systems {N_HI>=2*10^20
cm^-2}. Here we propose to follow up a well-defined subset of 79 of
them to search for DLAs with 0.47<z<1.60. Only QSOs brighter than
g’=19 were selected. The QSO emission and DLA absorption redshifts
were constrained to virtually eliminate data loss due to intervening
Lyman limit absorption. Consequently, we expect to discover ~40 new
DLAs, which is a three-fold increase in this redshift interval. This
will significantly improve our earlier low-z DLA statistical results
on their incidence, cosmological mass density, and N_HI distribution.
The results will also allow us to better quantify the empirical DLA —
metal-line correlation. With this improved understanding, the need for
follow-up UV spectroscopy will lessen and, with the release of the
final database of SDSS QSO spectra {an ~25-fold increase}, the number
of low-z DLAs could be increased arbitrarily. Thus, the power of the
large and statistically-sound SDSS database in combination with a
proven technique for finding low-z DLAs will, over the next few years,
essentially solve the problem of making an accurate determination of
the cosmic evolution of the neutral gas component down to z~0.4.

NIC/NIC3 9865

The NICMOS Parallel Observing Program

We propose to continue managing the NICMOS pure parallel program.
Based on our experience, we are well prepared to make optimal use of
the parallel opportunities. The improved sensitivity and efficiency of
our observations will substantially increase the number of
line-emitting galaxies detected. As our previous work has
demonstrated, the most frequently detected line is Halpha at
0.7<z<1.9, which provides an excellent measure of current star
formation rate. We will also detect star-forming and active galaxies
in other redshift ranges using other emission lines. The grism
observations will produce by far the best available Halpha luminosity
functions over the crucial–but poorly observed–redshift range where
galaxies appear to have assembled most of their stellar mass. This key
process of galaxy evolution needs to be studied with IR data; we found
that observations at shorter wavelengths appear to have missed a large
fraction of the star-formation in galaxies, due to dust reddening. We
will also obtain deep F110W and F160W images, to examine the space
densities and morphologies of faint red galaxies. In addition to
carrying out the public parallels, we will make the fully reduced and
calibrated images and spectra available on-line, with some
ground-based data for the deepest parallel fields included.

NIC1/NIC2/NIC3 8792

NICMOS Post-SAA calibration – CR Persistence Part 3

A new procedure proposed to alleviate the CR-persistence problem of
NICMOS. Dark frames will be obtained immediately upon exiting the SAA
contour 23, and every time a NICMOS exposure is scheduled within 50
minutes of coming out of the SAA. The darks will be obtained in
parallel in all three NICMOS Cameras. The POST-SAA darks will be
non-standard reference files available to users with a USEAFTER
date/time mark. The keyword ‘USEAFTER=date/time’ will also be added to
the header of each POST-SAA DARK frame. The keyword must be populated
with the time, in addition to the date, because HST crosses the SAA ~8
times per day so each POST-SAA DARK will need to have the appropriate
time specified, for users to identify the ones they need. Both the raw
and processed images will be archived as POST-SAA DARKSs. Generally we
expect that all NICMOS science/calibration observations started within
50 minutes of leaving an SAA will need such maps to remove the CR
persistence from the science images. Each observation will need its
own CRMAP, as different SAA passages leave different imprints on the
NICMOS detectors.

NICMOS/STIS CCD 9405

The Origin of Gamma-Ray Bursts

The rapid and accurate localization of gamma-ray bursts {GRBs}
promised by a working HETE-2 during the coming year may well
revolutionize our ability to study these enigmatic, highly luminous
transients. We propose a program of HST and Chandra observations to
capitalize on this extraordinary opportunity. We will perform some of
the most stringent tests yet of the standard model, in which GRBs
represent collimated relativistic outflows from collapsing massive
stars. NICMOS imaging and STIS CCD spectroscopy will detect broad
atomic features of supernovae underlying GRB optical transients, at
luminosities more than three times fainter than SN 1998bw. UV,
optical, and X-ray spectroscopy will be used to study the local ISM
around the GRB. Chandra spectroscopy will investigate whether the GRB
X-ray lines are from metals freshly ripped from the stellar core by
the GRB. HST and CTIO infra-red imaging of the GRBs and their hosts
will be used to determine whether `dark’ bursts are the product of
unusually strong local extinction; imaging studies may for the first
time locate the hosts of `short’ GRBs. Our early polarimetry and
late-time broadband imaging will further test physical models of the
relativistic blast wave that produces the bright GRB afterglow, and
will provide unique insight into the influence of the GRB environment
on the afterglow.

STIS/CCD 10000

STIS Pure Parallel Imaging Program: Cycle 12

This is the default archival pure parallel program for STIS during
cycle 12.

STIS/CCD 10017

CCD Dark Monitor-Part 1

Monitor the darks for the STIS CCD.

STIS/CCD 10019

CCD Bias Monitor – Part 1

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

STIS/CCD/MA1 9848

A SNAPSHOT Survey of Sharp-Lined Early B-Type Stars

Although spectrum synthesis studies of the UV spectra of sharp-lined
main sequence B stars provide us with some our best determinations of
the abundances of the Fe group and neutron capture elements and the
chemical evolution in our galaxy and the Magellanic Clouds, the HST
archive is virtually devoid of high resolution spectra of the bright
nearby B stars that have become to be regarded as abundance standards.
For example, there are NO observations of HR 1886, iota Her, and tau
Her, the sharpest-lined representatives {V sin i < 5 km/s} of spectral
classes B1 V, B3 IV-V and B5 IV, and only a few tiny spectral
intervals of gamma Peg {B2 IV}. Information on the abundances of the
Fe group is important for computing opacities for stellar evolution
calculations and for determining astrophysical f-values. There are no
suitable galactic standards in the HST database to compare with recent
HST/STIS observations of B stars in the Magellanic Clouds and the
likely future observations of similar objects in M31 and other nearby
galaxies. To correct this deficiency, we propose SNAPSHOT observations
with the STIS E140M and E230M gratings of 33 of the best bright
abundance standards in nearby clusters and the galactic field. Using
this data we will determine the abundances of the Fe group and heavy
elements using the technique of spectrum synthesis with LTE and NLTE
treatments. We waive the proprietary period.

WFPC2 10069

WFPC2 CYCLE 12 Supplemental Darks, Part 1/3

This dark calibration program obtains 3 dark frames every day to
provide data for monitoring and characterizing the evolution of hot
pixels.

WFPC2 10075

WFPC2 CYCLE 12 Intflat and Viflat Sweeps and Filter Rotation Anomaly
Monitor

Using intflat observations, this WFPC2 proposal is designed to monitor
the pixel-to-pixel flatfield response and provide a linearity check.
The intflat sequences, to be done once during the year, are similar to
those from the Cycle 11 program 9597. The images will provide a backup
database in the event of complete failure of the visflat lamp as well
as allow monitoring of the gain ratios. The sweep is a complete set of
internal flats, cycling through both shutter blades and both gains.
The linearity test consists of a series of intflats in F555W, in each
gain and each shutter. As in Cycle 11, we plan to continue to take
extra visflat, intflat, and earthflat exposures to test the
repeatability of filter wheel motions.

WFPC2 10082

POMS Test Proposal: WFII backup parallel archive proposal

This is a POMS test proposal designed to simulate scientific plans

WFPC2 9709

POMS Test Proposal: WFII parallel archive proposal

This is the generic target version of the WFPC2 Archival Pure Parallel
program. The program will be used to take parallel images of random
areas of the sky, following the recommendations of the 2002 Parallels
Working Group.

FLIGHT OPERATIONS SUMMARY:

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

HSTAR 9201: After successful GS Acquisition (1,2,2) @ 308/03:44Z and
GS Re-acquisition @ 308/05:21Z, this GS pair required two attempts to
get to FL Data Valid in the reacquisition that began @ 308/06:57Z due
to SSLE on FGS 2 during the first attempt. As it was a reacquisition
and the second attempt was successful, there should not have been a
science impact due to this anomaly. Under investigation.

HSTAR 9202: After successful GS Acquisition @ 311/01:10Z, GS
Re-acquisition @ 311/02:54Z required two attempts to achieve FL Data
Valid in FGS 2. In the first FL walk down attempt, the FGS 2 STOP
flag went up but no SSLE was seen, indicating the FGS my have walked
off the star in the FL walk down. The second attempt was successful
and as this was a reacquisition, HST was left guiding on both Guide
Stars. There should have been no impact to science observations
during the resultant guiding period. Under investigation.

COMPLETED OPS REQs:
17062-0 Monitor MTS-Compensated MSS data @ 317/08:55z

OPS NOTES EXECUTED:
1171-0 Adjust Battery 5, 1, 3 low pressure limits @ 316/22:37z
911-0 Limit Management During WFPC2 Decontamination (M001) @ 316/02:33z

SCHEDULED SUCCESSFUL FAILURE TIMES FGS GSacq 10 10 FGS REacq 05 05 FHST Update 17 17 LOSS of LOCK

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS: None

SpaceRef staff editor.