Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report # 3624

By SpaceRef Editor
June 3, 2004
Filed under , ,

HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE – Continuing to collect World Class Science





Stability of the ACS CCD: Flat fielding, Photometry, Geometry

This program will verify that the low frequency flat fielding, the
photometry, and the geometric distortion are stable in time and across
the field of view of the CCD detectors. A moderately crowded stellar
field, located ~6′ West of the center of the cluster 47 Tuc, is
observed every three months with the WFC and HRC using the full suite
of broad and narrow band filters. The same field has been observed
during SMOV to derive low frequency corrections to the ground flats
and to create a master catalogue of positions and magnitudes from
dithered observations of the cluster. In Cycle 11, this field was
observed again using single pointings at various roll angles. The
positions and magnitudes of objects are used to monitor local and
large scale variations in the plate scale and the sensitivity of the
detectors. The Cycle 12 program will continue to monitor these effects
and will derive an independent measure of the detector CTE.


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.


Tracing the History of Cosmic Expansion to z~2 with Type Ia Supernovae

Type Ia supernovae {SNe Ia} provide the only direct evidence for an
accelerating universe, an extraordinary result that needs the most
rigorous test. The case for cosmic acceleration rests on the
observation that SNe Ia at z = 0.5 are about 0.25 mag fainter than
they would be in a universe without acceleration. A powerful and
straightforward way to assess the reliability of the SN Ia measurement
and the conceptual framework of its interpretation is to look for
cosmic deceleration at z > 1. This would be a clear signature of a
mixed dark-matter and dark-energy universe. Systematic errors in the
SNe Ia result attributed to grey dust or cosmic evolution of the SN Ia
peak luminosity would not show this change of sign. We have obtained a
toehold on this putative “epoch of deceleration” with SN 1997ff at z
= 1.7, and 3 more at z > 1 from our Cycle 11 program, all found and
followed by HST. However, this is too important a test to rest on just
a few objects, anyone of which could be subject to a lensed
line-of-sight or misidentification. Here we propose to extend our
measurement with observations of twelve SNe Ia in the range 1.0 < z <
1.5 or 6 such SNe Ia and 1 ultradistant SN Ia at z = 2, that will be
discovered as a byproduct from proposed Treasury and DD programs.
These objects will provide a much firmer foundation for a conclusion
that touches on important questions of fundamental physics.


Galaxy Evolution in Action : The Detailed Morphology of Post-Starburst

If galaxies evolve morphologically, then some should be in transition
between late and early types. One proposed evolutionary mechanism is a
galaxy-galaxy merger, but evolved merger products are difficult to
find. Fortunately, spectroscopic surveys have now uncovered large
numbers of E+A galaxies, a class of objects whose post-starburst
spectra, current lack of HI gas, and pressure-supported kinematics
suggest that they are the missing panel that connects the "Toomre
sequence" of merging spirals with normal ellipticals and S0s. Our
first HST observations of five of these galaxies are intriguing. We
find a considerable range of tidally disturbed morphologies, an "E+A"
fundamental plane, significant differences among the color gradients
within 1 kpc {~0.8”}, and populations of bright, blue globular
clusters. These initial results are difficult to interpret, however,
because they are drawn from a small sample of galaxies whose very blue
overall colors may have selected a particular evolutionary path of
E+As. Here we propose for ACS imaging of the remaining 15 E+As from
the Las Campanas Redshift Survey to probe the full range of E+A
properties. The proposed observations will allow us to 1} determine
what fraction of the interactions that lead to E+As destroy all
disk-like structures {and therefore necessarily lead to elliptical
formation}, 2} measure the inner color gradients and constrain the
spatial distribution of stars produced as gas sinks to the center
during a merger, and 3} determine whether these interactions produce
globular clusters in the required numbers to account for the increased
specific frequency of clusters in early-type galaxies.

ACS/WFC 10055

ACS Polarization Calibration

This proposal aims to address several specific issues for the
polarization calibration: {1} variations in calibration with position
on the detector {field dependence}, {2} dependence on telescope
roll-angle relative to the target, {3} orientation of the polarizer
axes, and {4} geometric distortion contributed by the polarizers.


Young Massive Clusters in Spiral Galaxies and the Connection with Open

We propose to carry out a census of star clusters in the disks of the
nearby spiral galaxies NGC 45, NGC 1313, NGC 4395, NGC 5236 and NGC
7793. Using ACS, we will identify much fainter and older star clusters
than possible in previous ground-based surveys, or even in HST imaging
of more distant galaxies. For the first time, we will directly explore
the connection between young "massive” {or "super”} star clusters
{YMCs} and lower-mass "open” clusters in different star forming
environments. We will test the universality of the luminosity- and
mass functions of stellar clusters and establish whether the presence
of YMCs is a result of a top-heavy cluster luminosity function, or
follows from generally richer cluster systems. Our target galaxies
span a range of morphological properties, surface brightness and star
formation rate. Some of them are known from ground-based studies to
host large numbers of YMCs while others have more modest cluster
populations. However, previous ground-based data were restricted to
luminous clusters younger than about 500 Myr. Here we will extend the
search to clusters formed throughout the entire lifetime of each
galaxy and reach clusters with properties typical of the Milky Way
open clusters. This will allow us to close the gap between studies of
extragalactic and Galactic disk clusters.

FGS 9879

An Astrometric Calibration of the Cepheid Period-Luminosity Relation

We propose to measure the parallaxes of 10 Galactic Cepheid variables.
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.

FGS 9972

Calibrating the Mass-Luminosity Relation at the End of the Main Sequence

We propose to use HST-FGS1R to calibrate the mass-luminosity relation
{MLR} for stars less massive than 0.2 Msun, with special emphasis on
objects near the stellar/brown dwarf border. Our goals are to
determine M_V values to 0.05 magnitude, masses to 5 than double the
number of objects with masses determined to be less than 0.20 Msun.
This program uses the combination of HST-FGS3/FGS1R at optical
wavelengths and ground-based infrared interferometry to examine
nearby, subarcsecond binary systems. As a result of these
measurements, we are deriving high quality luminosities and masses for
the components in the observed systems, and characterizing their
spectral energy distributions from 0.5 to 2.2 Mum. Several of the
objects included have M < 0.1 Msun, placing them at the very end of
the stellar main sequence. Three of the targets are brown dwarf
candidates, including the current low mass record holder, GJ 1245C,
with a mass of 0.062 +/- 0.004 Msun. The payoff of this proposal is
high because all 10 of the systems selected have already been resolved
with HST- FGS3/FGS1R during Cycles 5–10 and contain most of the
reddest objects for which masses can be determined.

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.

STIS/CCD 10018

CCD Dark Monitor-Part 2

Monitor the darks for the STIS CCD.

STIS/CCD 10020

CCD Bias Monitor – Part 2

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 10070

WFPC2 CYCLE 12 Supplemental Darks Part 2/3

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


Significant Spacecraft Anomalies: (The following are preliminary
reports of potential non-nominal performance that will be
investigated.) None

17175-0 Load Battery Reconditioning Macro version D @ 153/10:17z


                          SCHEDULED     SUCCESSFUL    FAILURE TIMES
FGS GSacq              09                           09
FGS REacq              06                           06
FHST Update           14                           14


Successfully started commanding for Battery 4 Capacity Test on
schedule @ 153/10:10Z with set-up portion of script (OR 17172 with
attached script). Solar Array Section 4 was connected to Diode Bus C
during orbit night @ 153/11:14Z, Battery 4 discharge through the
high-rate resistor was commanded @ 153/11:15Z. When Battery 4 Voltage
discharge reached 26.23 Volts, the discharge was switched to the
low-rate resistor by the ACR @ 153/20:11Z.

SpaceRef staff editor.