Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report # 3656

By SpaceRef Editor
July 20, 2004
Filed under , ,

HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE – Continuing to collect World Class Science




ACS/WFC 9899

Geometrical Distance of NGC 2808 and NGC 6752

This is a proposal to establish a globular cluster distance scale of
unprecedented accuracy and reliability, with far-reaching impact on
the distance scales of cosmology. Our method is to compare internal
dispersion proper motions with ground-based determination of the
dispersion of the radial velocities {with time already allocated at
VLT}. The prospect is a geometrically based distance with an accuracy
of better than 2%. Results already in hand for M4 and 47 Tuc,
establish our ability to make such measurements of proper motions. Our
projects has two parts: {1} use archival observation for both epochs
when available, {2} The present proposal cover an external field of
NGC 2808 and give a second epoch for the cluster NGC6752. Thanks to
the ACS features, we will be able to extend the sample in just 2-4

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

ACS/HRC 10272

A Snapshot Survey of the Sites of Recent, Nearby Supernovae

During the past few years, robotic {or nearly robotic} searches for
supernovae {SNe}, most notably our Lick Observatory Supernova Search
{LOSS}, have found hundreds of SNe, many of them in quite nearby
galaxies {cz < 4000 km/s}. Most of the objects were discovered before
maximum brightness, and have follow-up photometry and spectroscopy;
they include some of the best-studied SNe to date. We propose to
conduct a snapshot imaging survey of the sites of some of these nearby
objects, to obtain late-time photometry that {through the shape of the
light and color curves} will help reveal the origin of their lingering
energy. The images will also provide high-resolution information on
the local environment of SNe that are far superior to what we can
procure from the ground. For example, we will obtain color-color and
color-magnitude diagrams of stars in these SN sites, to determine
their progenitor masses and constraints on the reddening. Recovery of
the SNe in the new HST images will also allow us to actually pinpoint
their progenitor stars in cases where pre-explosion images exist in
the HST archive. Use of ACS rather than WFPC2 will make our snapshot
survey even more valuable than our Cycle 9 survey. This Proposal is
complementary to our Cycle 13 archival proposal, in which we outline a
plan for using existing HST images to glean information about SN


SAINTS – Supernova 1987A Intensive Survey

SAINTS is a program to observe SN 1987A, the brightest supernova in
383 years, as it transforms into supernova remnant {SNR} 1987A, the
youngest supernova remnant. HST is the unique and perfect match in
scale and in field for spatially-resolved observations of SN 1987A.
Rapid changes are taking place in a violent encounter between the
fastest-moving debris and the circumstellar ring. This one-time-only
event, leading to suddenly appearing hotspots and new emission that
can reveal previously hidden gas, is powered by shocks that can be
studied simultaneously with HST and with Chandra to great advantage.
Both the optical and X-ray flux from the ring are rising rapidly so
prompt observations are needed in Cycle 13. Our previous observations
reveal a remarkable reverse shock moving upstream through the
expanding debris. The reverse shock provides a powerful tool for
dissecting the radial structure of the vanished star. The debris from
the explosion itself, still excited by radioactivity, is now well
resolved by ACS and seen to be aspherical, providing direct clues to
the mechanism of the explosion. Many questions about SN 1987A remain
unanswered. SAINTS is a comprehensive attempt to use HST to establish
the facts of SN 1987A, help to answer interesting questions, and to
observe the birth of SNR 1987A.

STIS/CCD 10251

SNAPSHOT Survey of SMC Planetary Nebulae

A survey of SMC planetary nebulae {PNe} is proposed to study the
co-evolution of the nebulae and their central stars, in an environment
that is chemically very metal poor. We will obtain STIS imaging and
medium-resolution slitless spectroscopy which will yield line fluxes
and nebular morphologies in important emission lines, plus magnitudes
of the central stars. From these data we will gather a harvest of
information: the nebular size, morphology, ionization structure,
density, and mass; and the central star temperature, luminosity, and
mass. We will explore the correlation found in the Galaxy of nebular
bipolarity with large progenitor star mass and with chemical
enrichment of the outer envelope during the prior AGB phase. These
relationships between PN and central star evolution will be pursued in
the SMC with a sample free of distance uncertainties and selection
biases, and in a metal-poor chemical environment that stands in sharp
contrast to the Galaxy and the LMC. The importance of this program is
two-fold: We will determine the late evolutionary paths of the most
common stars in a galaxy that, in its chemical content, mimics a young
galaxy; and we will produce a sample of extragalactic PN images and
spectra that will far exceed in number the galactic PNe already
observed with HST, providing an homogeneous database for testing the
evolutionary implications of metallicity variations in stellar

ACS/WFC 10248

Current star formation in young, compact clusters in the Small
Magellanic Cloud

The Small Magellanic Cloud {SMC} offers a deep, resolved stellar
population that leverages fundamental parameters {metallicity, dust
content} with respect to the Milky Way and to its most studied
counterpart, the LMC. Its subsolar metallicity makes it the best
analog to the large majority of dwarf irregulars, and gives us the
possibility to study star formation and evolution in an environment
with the closest {available} resemblance to the early universe. Young,
compact clusters are ideal laboratories to investigate how these
fundamental differences affect star and cluster formation and
evolution. We are therefore, proposing, to use ACS and NICMOS to
perform a in depth study of the "resolved" stellar population in the
four youngest compact clusters in the SMC. The observations, spanning
the UV to the near-IR, will reach the subsolar domain, and will
address the following fundamental questions: Does the IMF follow the
universal Salpeter’s law? Is mass segregation prevalent in the SMC
clusters as in LMC clusters? Is on-going star formation present, where
and how? What is the role of massive star feedback? The four proposed
clusters span an age range from 3-20 Myr, and sample spatially
different regions of the SMC. The synergy with NICMOS will permit full
characterization of existing pre main sequence stars, if detected.
This proposal is part of a coordinated HST and ground-based study of
the stellar history and star formation processes in the SMC.


Globular Cluster Systems of Giant, Post-Starburst Shell Ellipticals

Mergers seem to have played a major role in determining the shapes and
dynamics of elliptical galaxies. A few galactic mergers still occur
and offer valuable clues to past evolutionary processes. Young
globular clusters formed during mergers hold strong promise for
age-dating such events, besides helping shed light on the
cluster-formation process itself. With young globulars in ongoing
mergers and ~0.5 Gyr old remnants now well studied {NGC 4038/39, 3256,
7252, and 3921}, we propose to observe 4 bona fide ellipticals
featuring ripples, tidal tails as well as post-starburst spectra {E+A
galaxies: strong Balmer absorption}, which are obvious candidates for
having undergone a dissipative merger 1-4 Gyr ago. If the globulars
formed during mergers are formed with a normal IMF, they should still
be around in large numbers in intermediate-age systems. If that is
indeed the case, it would constitute strong evidence in favor of the
scenario in which metal-rich globulars in ‘normal’ ellipticals are
formed in merging events. We plan to use these ACS observations to {1}
measure high-accuracy {g-I error of 0.1 mag} colors for clusters as
faint as the peak of the luminosity function {LF} of old globulars,
{2} use these colors to separate first- and second-generation
clusters, and {3} determine the LFs of the two kinds of clusters down
to 1.5 mag past the LF peak for old globulars. Deep dithered g&I-band
images form a crucial part of our observing strategy. When combined
with previous HST studies of globulars in mergers, this study will
yield about a dozen globular cluster systems with age estimates,
enough to make meaningful statements about the influence of mergers in
creating "red”, metal-rich globulars in giant E’s and the evolution
of the specific frequency of globular clusters during galactic

NIC/NIC3 10226

The NICMOS Grism Parallel Survey

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 10177

Solar Systems In Formation: A NICMOS Coronagraphic Survey of
Protoplanetary and Debris Disks

Until recently, despite decades of concerted effort applied to
understanding the formation processes that gave birth to our solar
system, the detailed morphology of circumstellar material that must
eventually form planets has been virtually impossible to discern. The
advent of high contrast, coronagraphic imaging as implemented with the
instruments aboard HST has dramatically enhanced our understanding of
natal planetary system formation. Even so, only a handful of evolved
disks {~ 1 Myr and older} have been imaged and spatially resolved in
light scattered from their constituent grains. To elucidate the
physical processes and properties in potentially planet-forming
circumstellar disks, and to understand the nature and evolution of
their grains, a larger spatially resolved and photometrically reliable
sample of such systems must be observed. Thus, we propose a highly
sensitive circumstellar disk imaging survey of a well-defined and
carefully selected sample of YSOs {1-10 Myr T Tau and HAeBe stars} and
{> app 10 Myr} main sequence stars, to probe the posited epoch of
planetary system formation, and to provide this critically needed
imagery. Our resolved images will shed light on the spatial
distributions of the dust in these thermally emissive disks. In
combination with their long wavelength SEDs the physical properties of
the grains will be discerned, or constrained by our photometrically
accurate surface brightness sensitivity limits for faint disks which
elude detection. Our sample builds on the success of the exploratory
GTO 7233 program, using two-roll per orbit PSF-subtracted NICMOS
coronagraphy to provide the highest detection sensitivity to the
smallest disks around bright stars which can be imaged with HST. Our
sample will discriminate between proposed evolutionary scenarios while
providing a legacy of cataloged morphologies for interpreting mid- and
far-IR SEDs that the recently launched Spitzer Space Telescope will

NIC2 10176

Coronagraphic Survey for Giant Planets Around Nearby Young Stars

A systematic imaging search for extra-solar Jovian planets is now
possible thanks to recent progress in identifying "young stars near
Earth". For most of the proposed young {<~ 30 Myrs} and nearby {<~ 60
pc} targets, we can detect a few Jupiter-mass planets as close as a
few tens of AUs from the primary stars. This represents the first time
that potential analogs of our solar system – that is planetary systems
with giant planets having semi-major axes comparable to those of the
four giant planets of the Solar System – come within the grasp of
existing instrumentation. Our proposed targets have not been observed
for planets with the Hubble Space Telescope previously. Considering
the very successful earlier NICMOS observations of low mass brown
dwarfs and planetary disks among members of the TW Hydrae Association,
a fair fraction of our targets should also turn out to posses low mass
brown dwarfs, giant planets, or dusty planetary disks because our
targets are similar to {or even better than} the TW Hydrae stars in
terms of youth and proximity to Earth. Should HST time be awarded and
planetary mass candidates be found, proper motion follow-up of
candidate planets will be done with ground-based AOs.

WFPC2 10170

Atmospheric Variability on Uranus and Neptune

We propose Snapshot observations of Uranus and Neptune to monitor
changes in their atmospheres on time scales of weeks, months, and
years. Uranus is rapidly approaching equinox in 2007, with another 4
degrees of latitude becoming visible every year. Recent HST
observations during this epoch {including 6818: Hammel, Lockwood, and
Rages; 7885: Hammel, Karkoschka, and Marley; 8680: Hammel, Rages,
Lockwood, and Marley; and 8634: Rages, Hammel, Lockwood, Marley, and
McKay} have revealed strongly wavelength-dependent latitudinal
structure and the presence of numerous visible-wavelength cloud
features in the northern hemisphere. Long-term ground-based
observations {Lockwood and Thompson 1999} show seasonal brightness
changes whose origins are not well understood. Recent near-IR images
of Neptune obtained using adaptive optics on the Keck Telescope
together with images from our Cycle 9 Snapshot program {8634} show a
general increase in activity at south temperate latitudes as well as
the possible development of another Great Dark Spot. Further Snapshot
observations of these two dynamic planets will elucidate the nature of
long-term changes in their zonal atmospheric bands and clarify the
processes of formation, evolution, and dissipation of discrete albedo

NIC2 10149

The Coevolution of Supermassive Black Holes and Galaxies at z~3

The existence of strong correlations between the mass of supermassive
black holes and galaxy bulge properties implies that there is an
intimate connection between their formation and evolution. How do
supermassive black holes grow and how did the correlations come about?
Is the growth of supermassive black holes coeval with the growth of
the bulge, and is a bulge necessary for AGN activity at high z? We
propose to use HST NICMOS to image 9 low-luminosity broad-line AGNs at
z~3 in the restframe B-band, identified through the Lyman-break
technique. This sample is unique because the AGN luminosities are
comparable to Seyfert-like nuclei at z~3, and thus are some of the
lowest that have been selected optically. Because of the low total
luminosity of the sample, the hosts are likely to be Lyman-break
galaxies, which are believed to be the progenitor galaxies of the
local Hubble sequence. The goal is to directly detect their host
galaxies and to separate the AGN, in order to study the host galaxy
morphology and luminosity. From measurement of the bulge luminosity
and black hole mass {through available spectra}, we will study the
black hole-bulge coevolution out to z~3. We will also compare the
luminosity and morphology of these faint AGN hosts with the more
luminous and massive host galaxies found in previous HST studies of

ACS/HRC 10130

Systemic Proper Motions of the Magellanic Clouds from Astrometry with
ACS: II. Second Epoch Images

We request second epoch observations with ACS of Magellanic Cloud
fields centered on the 40 quasars in the LMC and SMC for which we have
first epoch Cycle 11 data. The new data will determine the systemic
proper motion of the Clouds. An extensive astrometric analysis of the
first epoch data shows that follow-up observations with a two year
baseline will allow us to measure the proper motion of the clouds to
within 0.022 mas/year in each of the two orthogonal directions
{assuming that we can image 25 quasars, i.e., with a realistic
Snapshot Program completion rate}. The best weighted combination of
all previous measurements has a seven times larger error than what we
expect. We will determine the proper motion of the clouds with 2%
accuracy. When combined with HI data for the Magellanic Stream this
will constrain both the mass distribution in the Galactic Halo and
theoretical models for the origin of the Magellanic Stream. Previous
measurements are too crude for such constraints. Our data will provide
by far the most accurate proper motion measurement for any Milky Way

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


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.

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/CCD 10018

CCD Dark Monitor-Part 2

Monitor the darks for the STIS CCD.


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

HSTAR 9483- GSACQ(1,2,1) fine lock backup, scan step limit exceeded on
FGS 2. GSacq(1,2,1) scheduled for 200/19:43:22 – 19:50:41 resulted in
FLBU GSacq(1,0,1) due to Scan Step Limit Exceeded on Fgs-2. There were
not any FM updates prior but there was a successful RD update with low
axis error. The following map scheduled for 20:27:14 showed vehicle
axis errors of: -3.610, -0.054, -0.653 (arcsec). Possible science
affected: NIC 81 – 92, ACS 196 – 199. Under investigation.


  • 17225-2 RF Transfer Switch Scrub @198/1524z
  • 17226-0 GenSlew Prop 10330 Slot 1 @199/2113z
  • 17227-0 GenSlew Prop 10330 Slot 2 @199/2114z
  • 17228-0 GenSlew Prop 10330 Slot 3 @199/2116z
  • 17229-0 GenSlew Prop 10330 Slot 4 @199/2118z

1250-0 Change Limits MAMA2 Threshold Voltage @199/1047z (Closed @201/0340z)

                        SCHEDULED     SUCCESSFUL    FAILURE TIMES
FGS GSacq            26                           26
FGS REacq            28                           28
FHST Update         26                           26


Successfully completed bi-yearly RF Transfer Switch scrub @ 198 /1524z
(OR 17225-2 with ROP IC-06). This activity cycled RF Transfer
Switches 1 and 2 (5 times) and RF tested the nominal, straight-through
RF Transfer Switch configuration. WSC provided SSAR and MAR Eb/No
measurements were recorded during testing.

SpaceRef staff editor.