Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report # 3641

By SpaceRef Editor
June 27, 2004
Filed under , ,

HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE – Continuing to collect World Class Science




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 coronagraphic
monitoring is required to assess the changing position of the spots.


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 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. 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 9777

The environment of QSOs at the reionization epoch

Our goal is to elucidate the role of QSOs and galaxies at the tail end
of reionization by identifying z~6 galaxies near SDSS z>6 QSOs through
their red i-z colors. A similar technique was used by the SDSS to
identify the QSOs themselves. Based on our understanding of the growth
of structure in the Universe and on observations at z ~= 4, we expect
z~6 QSOs to be associated to the high peaks in the matter density
distribution. Therefore, they should be surrounded by an excess of
objects – as compared to random fields – unless the ionizing radiation
from the QSOs themselves is inhibiting star formation. We will
concentrate on 5 QSOs discovered by the SDSS at z>~6 and spend 7
orbits with ACS on each of the QSO fields {2.5 in F775W – i – and 4.5
in F850LP – z}, for a total of 35 orbits. The exposures are optimized
for the detection of objects with i-z> 2. The reference properties of
the field population will be provided by GOODS which is reaching the
same depth. The proposed observations will be capable of revealing the
dominant effect between galaxy suppression by the QSO ionizing flux
and number density excess due to clustering. We will test whether the
balance between suppression and enhancement evolves with redshift. We
will also be able to estimate for these fields the ionizing continuum
contribution by galaxies and compare it with that of the QSOs. If
galaxies are found to be comparably important to QSOs in these
selected fields, the idea that hydrogen reionization is primarily due
to stellar radiation would be significantly strengthened.


The Evolution and Assembly of Galactic Disks: Integrated studies of
mass, stars and gas in the Extended Groth Strip

This project is a 126-orbit imaging survey in F606W/F814W ACS to
measure the evolution of galaxy disks from redshift z = 1.4 to the
present. By combining HST imaging with existing observations in the
Extended Groth Strip, we can for the first time simultaneously
determine the mass in dark matter that underlies disks, the mass in
stars within those disks, and the rate of formation of new stars from
gas in the disks, for samples of >1, 000 objects. ACS observations are
critical for this work, both for reliable identifications of disks and
for determining their sizes and inclinations. Combining these data
with the kinematics measured from high-resolution Keck DEIMOS spectra
will give dynamical masses that include dark matter. Stellar masses
can be measured separately using ground-based BRIK and Spitzer IRAC
GTO data, while cross-calibrated star formation rates will come from
DEEP2 spectra, GALEX, and Spitzer/MIPS. The field chosen is the only
one where all multiwavelength data needed will be available in the
near term. These data will show how the fundamental properties of
disks {luminosity, rotation speed, scale length} and their scaling
relations have evolved since z~1, and also will measure the build-up
of stellar disks directly, providing fundamental tests of disk
formation and evolution. In addition to the above study of disk
galaxies, the data will also be used to measure the evolution of
red-sequence galaxies and their associated stellar populations. ACS
images will yield the number of red-sequence galaxies versus time,
together with their total associated stellar mass. ACS images are
crucial to classify red-sequence galaxies into normal E/S0s versus
peculiar types and to measure radii, which will complete the suite of
fundamental structural parameters needed to study evolution. We will
measure the zeropoints of major scaling laws {Fundamental Plane,
radius versus sigma}, as well as evolution in characteristic
quantities such as L*, v*, and r*. Stellar population ages will be
estimated from high-resolution Keck DEIMOS spectra and compared to SED
evolution measured from GALEX, HST, Spitzer, and ground-based colors.
Important for both disk and red-galaxy programs are parallel exposures
to be taken with both NIC3 {J and H} and WFPC2 {B}. These are arranged
so that ACS, WFPC2, and NIC3 all overlap where possible , providing a
rich data set of galaxies imaged with all three HST cameras from B to
H. These data will be used to measure restframe visible morphologies
and UV star-formation rates for galaxies near the edge of the survey,
to discover and count EROs below the Keck spectroscopic limit of R =
24, and to provide an improved database of photometric redshifts for
galaxies in the overlap regions.

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 8793

NICMOS Post-SAA calibration – CR Persistence Part 4

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.

NIC2 9875

The Fundamental Plane of Massive Gas-Rich Mergers

We propose deep NICMOS H-band imaging of a carefully selected sample
of 33 luminous, late-stage galactic mergers. This program is part of a
comprehensive investigation of the most luminous mergers in the nearby
universe, the ultraluminous infrared galaxies {ULIGs}. The
high-resolution HST images will complement an extensive set of
ground-based data that include long-slit NIR spectra from a recently
approved Large VLT Programme. This unique dataset will allow us to
derive with unprecedented precision structural -and- kinematic
parameters for a large unbiased sample of objects spanning the entire
ULIG luminosity function. These data will refine the fundamental plane
of massive gas-rich mergers and enable us to answer the following
questions: {1} Do ultraluminous mergers form elliptical galaxies, and
in particular, giant ellipticals? {2} Do ULIGs evolve into optically
bright QSOs? The results from this detailed study of massive mergers
in the local universe will be relevant to understanding galaxy
formation and evolution at earlier epochs, and in particular, the
dusty sub-mm population that accounts for more than half of the star
formation at z > 1.

NIC3 9998

NICMOS Cycle 12 Grism Calibration and Standard Stars to 2.5microns

This is the grism calibration proposal.

STIS 9786

The Next Generation Spectral Library

We propose to continue the Cycle 10 snapshot program to produce a Next
Generation Spectral Library of 600 stars for use in modeling the
integrated light of galaxies and clusters. This program is using the
low dispersion UV and optical gratings of STIS. The library will be
roughly equally divided among four metallicities, very low {[Fe/H] lt
-1.5}, low {[Fe/H] -1.5 to -0.5}, near-solar {[Fe/H] -0.3 to 0.1}, and
super-solar {[Fe/H] gt 0.2}, well-sampling the entire HR-diagram in
each bin. Such a library will surpass all extant compilations and have
lasting archival value, well into the Next Generation Space Telescope
era. Because of the universal utility and community-broad nature of
this venture, we waive the entire proprietary period.

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.


Iron deficiency in hot hydrogen-deficient post-AGB stars

The first attempt to measure the iron abundance in hot
hydrogen-deficient post-AGB stars arrived at a surprising result. From
the non-detection of iron lines in FUSE spectra of three extremely hot
{Teff>100, 000K} PG1159-type central stars of the planetary nebulae,
we found that iron is deficient by at least one order of magnitude. We
propose HST/STIS observations of three hydrogen-deficient post-AGB
stars, each representing the UV-brightest member of a spectroscopic
subclass. High-resolution UV spectroscopy will reveal the origin of
the iron deficiency. The determination of the Fe/Ni abundance ratio
can decide if dust fractionation in the former AGB star atmosphere or
s-process neutron-capture in the interior helium-buffer layer is
responsible for the iron depletion. In the latter case we can verify
our understanding of the "born-again” star phenomenon and of the
s-process synthesis of trans-iron elements in low-mass AGB stars.

WFPC2 10071

WFPC2 CYCLE 12 Supplemental Darks Part 3/3

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



                          SCHEDULED     SUCCESSFUL    FAILURE TIMES
FGS GSacq              06                           06
FGS REacq              10                           10
FHST Update            09                          09


PSS Serial testing scheduled 177/13:30Z – 18:30Z with GDOC, SOC, HITT
using CCS "H" String with CCS Release and PRD xx
(intentionally removed). The purpose of this testing is to verify PSS
CR 7992 and successful telemetry transmission and command response
functionality via serial link from Building xx (intentionally

SpaceRef staff editor.