Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report # 3707

By SpaceRef Editor
October 3, 2004
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HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE – Continuing to collect World Class Science





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 10260

The Most Massive Star Clusters: Supermassive Globular Clusters or
Dwarf Galaxy Nuclei?

Evidence is mounting that the most massive globular clusters, such as
Omega Centauri and M31-G1, may be related to the recently discovered
"Ultra-Compact Dwarfs" and the dense nuclei of dE, N galaxies.
However, no systematic imaging investigation of these supermassive
globular clusters — at the level of Omega Cen and beyond — has been
done, and we do not know what fraction of them might bear the
signatures {such as large effective radii or tidal tails} of having
originated as dE nuclei. We propose to use the ACS/WFC to obtain deep
images of 18 such clusters in NGC 5128 and M31, the two nearest rich
globular cluster systems. These globulars are the richest star
clusters that can be found in nature, the biggest of them reaching
10^7 Solar masses, and they are likely to represent the results of
star formation under the densest and most extreme conditions known.
Using the profiles of the clusters including their faint outer
envelopes, we will carry out state-of-the-art dynamical modelling of
their structures, and look for any clear evidence which would indicate
that they are associated with stripped satellites. This study will
build on our previous work with STIS and WFPC2 imaging designed to
study the ‘Fundamental Plane’ of globular clusters. When our new work
is combined with Archival WFPC2, STIS, and ACS material, we will also
be able to construct the definitive mapping of the Fundamental Plane
of globular clusters at its uppermost mass range, and confirm whether
or not the UCD and dE, N objects occupy a different structural
parameter space.

FGS 10106

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.

NIC1 10208

NICMOS Differential Imaging Search for Planetary Mass Companions to
Nearby Young Brown Dwarfs

We propose to use the differential spectral imaging capability of
HST/NICMOS {NIC1} to search for planetary mass companions. We target
the twelve most nearby {within 30 pc}, isolated {no known close
companion}, and young {< 1Gyr} brown dwarfs. All of them have spectral
type L and show signs of Lithium absorption, which clearly proves
their substellar nature and youth. Planetary mass companions with
masses down to 6 Jupiter masses, and at separations larger than 3 A.U.
are bright enough for a direct detection with HST/NICMOS using the
spectral differential imaging technique in two narrow-band filters
placed on and off molecular bands. The proposed project has the
potential to lead to the first direct detection of a planetary mass
object in orbit around a nearby brown dwarf.

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.

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

17280-0 – HGA Offset Test @ 274/0959z


                          SCHEDULED     SUCCESSFUL    FAILURE TIMES
FGS Gsacq              13                        13
FGS Reacq               3                          3
FHST Update            17                         17


SpaceRef staff editor.