Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report # 3492

By SpaceRef Editor
November 19, 2003
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HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE

DAILY REPORT # 3492

PERIOD COVERED: DOY 321

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/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/HRC/WFC 9796

Observations of Intermediate Mass Black Hole Candidate Ultra-Luminous
X-ray Sources

Ultra-luminous X-ray {ULX} sources are off-nuclear point sources in
nearby normal galaxies. Variability observed on the timescale of days,
weeks, and years signals that ULXS are accreting sources, likely
harboring black holes. However, the observed X-ray luminosity of these
systems far exceeds the Eddington limit for a 10 Msun black hole; some
ULXs may be intermediate mass black holes. The identification and
study of optical counterparts with HST will be central to better
understanding these objects. We propose to obtain deep U-B-V-I
exposures of 4 extremely bright ULXs in nearby spirals: NGC 1313 X-1
and X-2, M81 X-9 {Holmberg II X-1}, and M74 X-1. Each has a 0.5”
Chandra position, and X-ray luminosity and spectral characteristics
consistent with expectations for intermediate mass black holes. We
will use the colors we obtain, the magnitudes we measure, and any
source variability {also, correlated optical-X-ray variability from
simultaneous Chandra snapshots} to constrain the nature of the donor
stars and the black holes {10 Msun or 100-1000 Msun}, and the
formation and evolution scenarios for each system.

ACS/WFC 9744

HST Imaging of Gravitational Lenses

Gravitational lenses offer unique opportunities to study cosmology,
dark matter, galactic structure, galaxy evolution and quasar host
galaxies. They are also the only sample of galaxies selected based on
their mass rather than their luminosity or surface brightness. While
gravitational lenses can be discovered with ground-based optical and
radio observations, converting them into astrophysical tools requires
HST. HST has demonstrated that it is the only telescope that can in
each case precisely locate the lens galaxy, measure its luminosity,
color and structure, and search for lensed images of the source host
galaxy given the typical image separations of ~1”. We will obtain
ACS/WFC V and I images and NICMOS H images of 21 new lenses never
observed by HST and NICMOS H images of 16 lenses never observed by HST
in the IR. As in previous cycles, we request that the data be made
public immediately.

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 9991

The Orbit of a Newly Discovered Transneptunian Binary

We have recently discovered a binary companion to the transneptunian
object {TNO} 1999 RZ253. We are requesting rapid followup observations
during cycle 12 to make observations sufficient for a preliminary
characterization of the orbital period, semimajor axis, eccentricity,
and inclination. In particular, it is urgent to determine if this
object is a candidate for observable mutual events in the near future,
a possibility that would greatly add to its scientific interest. The
study of TNBs is in a stage of explosive growth, fueled in large part
by the capabilities of HST that we seek to exploit.

ACS/WFPC2 9488

Cosmic Shear – with ACS Pure Parallel Observations

The ACS, with greater sensitivity and sky coverage, will extend our
ability to measure the weak gravitational lensing of galaxy images
caused by the large scale distribution of dark matter. We propose to
use the ACS in pure parallel {non- proprietary} mode, following the
guidelines of the ACS Default Pure Parallel Program. Using the HST
Medium Deep Survey WFPC2 database we have measured cosmic shear at
arc-min angular scales. The MDS image parameters, in particular the
galaxy orientations and axis ratios, are such that any residual
corrections due to errors in the PSF or jitter are much smaller than
the measured signal. This situation is in stark contrast with
ground-based observations. We have also developed a statistical
analysis procedure to derive unbiased estimates of cosmic shear from a
large number of fields, each of which has a very small number of
galaxies. We have therefore set the stage for measurements with the
ACS at fainter apparent magnitudes and smaller, 10 arc-second scales
corresponding to larger cosmological distances. We will adapt existing
MDS WFPC2 maximum likelihood galaxy image analysis algorithms to work
with the ACS. The analysis would also yield an online database similar
to that in archive.stsci.edu/mds/

FGS 9879

An Astrometric Calibration of the Cepheid Period-Luminosity Relation

We propose to measure the parallaxes of 10 Galactic Cepheid variables.
There is no other instrument on or off the earth that can consistently
deliver HST FGS level of precision for critical parallaxes. When these
parallaxes {with 1-sigma precisions of 10% or better} are added to our
recent HST FGS parallax determination of delta Cep {Benedict et al
2002}, we anticipate determining the Period-Luminosity relation zero
point with a 0.03 mag precision. In addition to permitting the test of
assumptions that enter into other Cepheid distance determination
techniques, this calibration will reintroduce Galactic Cepheids as a
fundamental step in the extragalactic distance scale ladder. A
Period-Luminosity relation derived from solar metallicity Cepheids can
be applied directly to extragalactic solar metallicity Cepheids,
removing the need to bridge with the Large Magellanic Cloud and its
associated metallicity complications.

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.

NIC2 9726

A NICMOS search for obscured supernovae in starburst galaxies

Recent near-IR monitoring campaigns were successful in detecting
obscured supernovae {SNe} in starburst galaxies. The inferred SN rate
is much higher than that obtained in previous optical campaigns, but
it is still significantly lower than expected by the high level star
formation of these systems. One possible explanation for the shortage
of SNe is that most of them occur in the nuclear region, where the
limited angular resolution of groundbased observations prevents their
detection. We propose NICMOS SNAP observations of a sample of
starburst galaxies already observed once by NICMOS, with the goal of
exploiting its sensitivity and angular resolution to detect nuclear
obscured SNe which might have been missed by groundbased surveys.
These observation will allow to assess the real SN rate in starbust
galaxies and deliver a sample of SN occurring in the extreme
environment of galactic nuclei. We expect to detect more than 55 SNe
{if the whole sample is observed}. If the number of SNe detected in
the program is much lower than expected it would prompt for a revision
of our understanding of the relation between the star formation rate
and the SN rate.

NIC3 9878

The Age and Mass Function of the Intermediate Age Globular Cluster
System of NGC 4365

We propose to obtain deep H-band photometry of the globular cluster
system of the elliptical galaxy NGC 4365, which has previously been
shown from shallow data to have a significant population of
intermediate-age globular clusters. These data will allow us to
constrain the luminosity and mass function of the intermediate-aged
globular cluster system. This is a critical step in understanding the
relationship between the young dense star cluster systems observed in
galaxy mergers and starbursts, which have a power-law mass functions,
and well known old, globular cluster systems, which have a lognormal
mass functions. Specifically, the large intermediate-age cluster
population in NGC 4365 provides the best case to test whether the
power-law mass function of young systems evolves into a lognormal with
the properties of old globular cluster systems. Dynamical models have
long suggested such an evolution of a power-law mass function to a
roughly log-normal one but there is no clear observational evidence
yet in elliptical galaxies for steps along this process. Our proposed
study of the intermediate-age cluster system of NGC 4365 will provide
us with the fundamental information needed to conclusively establish
the relationship between young and old globular cluster systems.

NICMOS 8790

NICMOS Post-SAA calibration – CR Persistence Part 1.

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.

S/C/NIC1/NIC3 9994

NICMOS Focus Stability

The purpose of this activity is to determine if the best focus
determined in SMOV is stable. This program will execute in
approximately one month intervals starting about 1 month after the
last execution of proposal 8980.

STIS 9973

Intensive Coverage of the Eta Carinae Event in 2003

For a variety of reasons, HST can provide a very special and unique
data set when Eta Car experiences its next spectroscopic event in
mid-2003. Explaining the phenomenon is only part of the motivation.
This star and its ejecta have unique characteristics that make them
important for several branches of astrophysics; and when a
spectroscopic event occurs, it’s like varying the parameters in an
experiment {or rather, set of experiments}. The 2003 event may be the
only chance in the forseeable future to obtain such a data set,
especially with HST. Eta Carinae has extreme parameters; it is
mysterious in surprisingly basic ways; and HST/STIS can gather useful
data on it at a terrific rate. As we explain below, the proposed data
set will be valuable in several independent ways: It will help solve a
specific set of current problems, it will constitute a large and
unique archival data base for both stellar and nebular astrophysics,
and it will be well-suited for educational uses.

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/MA1 10034

Cycle 12 MAMA Dark Monitor

This test performs the routine monitoring of the MAMA detector dark
noise. This proposal will provide the primary means of checking on
health of the MAMA detectors systems through frequent monitoring of
the background count rate. The purpose is to look for evidence of
change in dark indicative of detector problem developing.

WFPC2 10068

WFPC2 CYCLE 12 Standard Darks

This dark calibration program obtains dark frames every week in order
to provide data for the ongoing calibration of the CCD dark current
rate, and to monitor and characterize the evolution of hot pixels.
Over an extended period these data will also provide a monitor of
radiation damage to the CCDs.

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 10072

WFPC2 CYCLE 12 INTERNAL MONITOR

This calibration proposal is the Cycle 12 routine internal monitor for
WFPC2, to be run weekly to monitor the health of the cameras. A
variety of internal exposures are obtained in order to provide a
monitor of the integrity of the CCD camera electronics in both bays
{gain 7 and gain 15}, a test for quantum efficiency in the CCDs, and a
monitor for possible buildup of contaminants on the CCD windows.

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 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.) None

COMPLETED OPS REQs: NONE

OPS NOTES EXECUTED: NONE

                           SCHEDULED     SUCCESSFUL    FAILURE TIMES
FGS GSacq               10                        10
FGS REacq               06                         06
FHST Update             21                         21
LOSS of LOCK

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS: None

SpaceRef staff editor.