Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report # 3784

By SpaceRef Editor
January 27, 2005
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NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report # 3784

HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE – Continuing to collect World Class Science

DAILY REPORT        # 3784



ACS/WFC 10429

Streaming Towards Shapley: The Mass of the Richest Galaxy
Concentration in the Local Universe

The 600 km/s motion of the Local Group {LG} with respect to the cosmic
microwave background {CMB} is now known to high accuracy. However, its
precise origin remains poorly understood. The contribution to the
motion from the pull of the rich Shapley supercluster at z = 0.048 is
particularly controversial. This extreme mass concentration contains
more than 20 Abell clusters within 35 Mpc of its very rich central
cluster A3558, and is recognized as both the optically richest and the
most X-ray luminous structure in the local {z < 0.1} universe. Yet, published values for the mass of Shapley continue to differ by an order of magnitude, and recent estimates of its pull on the LG range from negligible {20 km/s} to highly significant {300 km/s or more}. Here we propose to resolve this key issue by using ACS to measure high-precision surface brightness fluctuation {SBF} distances in order to make a direct measurement of the infall towards Shapley. We will target three Shapley foreground clusters where the infall is expected to be high {possibly 1000 km/s or more}, as well as the Shapley core, in order to test the assumption that it is at rest in the CMB. Prior to ACS, the Shapley region was unreachable for SBF, but ACS doubles the distance range of the SBF method with HST, enabling the distances to be measured to the required accuracy. The proposed measurements will place a firm limit on the largest mass fluctuation in the nearby universe and finally determine its contribution to the observed CMB dipole.

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.

NIC1 10143

Ultracool companions to the nearest L dwarfs

We propose to conduct the most sensitive survey to date for low mass
companions to nearby L dwarfs. We will use NICMOS to image targets
drawn from a volume-complete sample of 70 L dwarfs within 20 parsecs.
The combination of infrared imaging and proximity will allow us to
search for T dwarf companions at separations as small as 1.6 AU. This
is crucial, since no ultracool binaries are currently known with
separations exceeding 15 AU. Only 10 dwarfs in this sample have
previous HST observations primarily at optical wavelengths. With the
increased sensitivity of our survey, we will provide the most
stringent test to date of brown dwarf models which envisage formation
as ejected stellar embryos. In addition, our observations will be
capable of detecting binaries with mass ratios as low as 0.3, and will
therefore also test the apparent preference for equal-mass ultracool
binaries. Finally, our observations offer the best prospect to date of
detecting companions significantly cooler than the coolest t dwarf
currently known.


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.

WFPC2 10356

WFPC2 Cycle 13 Decontaminations and Associated Observations

This proposal is for the monthly WFPC2 decons. Also included are
instrument monitors tied to decons: photometric stability check, focus
monitor, pre- and post-decon internals {bias, intflats, kspots, &
darks}, UV throughput check, VISFLAT sweep, and internal UV flat


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



                             SCHEDULED     SUCCESSFUL    FAILURE TIMES
FGS Gsacq                  4                         4
FGS Reacq                  11                       11
FHST Update                5                         5


SpaceRef staff editor.