Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report # 3817

By SpaceRef Editor
March 16, 2005
Filed under , ,

HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE – Continuing to collect World Class Science

DAILY REPORT        # 3817



ACS/HRC 10185

When does Bipolarity Impose itself on the Extreme Mass Outflows from
AGB Stars? An ACS SNAPshot Survey

Essentially all well-characterized preplanetary nebulae {PPNe} —
objects in transition between the AGB and planetary nebula
evolutionary phases – are bipolar, whereas the mass-loss envelopes of
AGB stars are strikingly spherical. In order to understand the
processes leading to bipolar mass-ejection, we need to know at what
stage of stellar evolution does bipolarity in the mass-loss first
manifest itself? Our previous SNAPshot surveys of a PPNe sample {with
ACS & NICMOS} show that roughly half our targets observed are
resolved, with well-defined bipolar or multipolar morphologies.
Spectroscopic surveys of our sample confirm that these objects have
not yet evolved into planetary nebulae. Thus, the transformation from
spherical to aspherical geometries has already fully developed by the
time these dying stars have become preplanetary nebulae. From this new
and surprising result, we hypothesize that the transformation to
bipolarity begins during the very late AGB phase, and happens very
quickly, just before, or as the stars are evolving off the AGB. We
propose to test this hypothesis quantitatively, through a SNAPshot
imaging survey of very evolved AGB stars which we believe are nascent
preplanetary nebulae; with our target list being drawn from published
lists of AGB stars with detected heavy mass-loss {from millimeter-wave
observations}. This survey is crucial for determining how and when the
bipolar geometry asserts itself. Supporting kinematic observations
using long-slit optical spectroscopy {with the Keck}, millimeter and
radio interferometric observations {with OVRO, VLA & VLBA} are being
undertaken. The results from this survey {together with our previous
work} will allow us to draw general conclusions about the onset of
bipolar mass-ejection during late stellar evolution, and will provide
crucial input for theories of post-AGB stellar evolution. Our survey
will produce an archival legacy of long-standing value for future
studies of dying stars.

ACS/HRC 10255

A Never Before Explored Phase Space: Resolving Close White Dwarf / Red
Dwarf Binaries

We propose an ACS Snapshot imaging survey to resolve a well-defined
sample of highly probable white dwarf plus red dwarf close binaries.
These candidates were selected from a search for white dwarfs with
infrared excess from the 2MASS database. They represent unresolved
systems {separations less than approximately 2″ in the 2MASS images}
and are distributed over the whole sky. Our HST+ACS observations will
be sensitive to a separation range {1-20 AU} never before probed by
any means. The proposed study will be the first empirical test of
binary star parameters in the post-AGB phase, and cannot be
accomplished from the ground. By resolving as few as 20 of our ~100
targets with HST, we will be able to characterize the distribution of
orbital semi- major axes and secondary star masses.

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 environments.

ACS/WFC 10334

i-Band Dropouts around High-z Radio Quasars

We will carry out deep F606W/F814W or F775W/F850LP imaging of three
high-redshift radio quasars to search for an excess of dropouts. Also
see program 9291 and 9777.

ACS/WFC 10368

External CTE Monitor

Monitor CTE changes during cycle 11. Determine CTE.

ACS/WFC/NIC2 10189

PANS-Probing Acceleration Now with Supernovae

Type Ia supernovae {SNe Ia} provide the most direct evidence for an
accelerating Universe, a result widely attributed to dark energy.
Using HST in Cycle 11 we extended the Hubble diagram with 6 of the 7
highest-redshift SNe Ia known, all at z>1.25, providing conclusive
evidence of an earlier epoch of cosmic deceleration. The full sample
of 16 new SNe Ia match the cosmic concordance model and are
inconsistent with a simple model of evolution or dust as alternatives
to dark energy. Understanding dark energy may be the biggest current
challenge to cosmology and particle physics. To understand the nature
of dark energy, we seek to measure its two most fundamental
properties: its evolution {i.e., dw/dz}, and its recent equation of
state {i.e., w{z=0}}. SNe Ia at z>1, beyond the reach of the ground
but squarely within the reach of HST with ACS, are crucial to break
the degeneracy in the measurements of these two basic aspects of dark
energy. The SNe Ia we have discovered and measured with HST in Cycle
11, now double the precision of our knowledge of both properties. Here
we propose to quadruple the sample of SNe Ia at z>1 in the next two
cycles, complementing on-going surveys from the ground at z<1, and again doubling the precision of dark energy constraints. Should the current best fit model prove to be the correct one, the precision expected from the current proposal will suffice to rule out a cosmological constant at the 99% confidence level. Whatever the result, these objects will provide the basis with which to extend our empirical knowledge of this newly discovered and dominant component of the Universe, and will remain one of the most significant legacies of HST. In addition, our survey and follow-up data will greatly enhance the value of the archival data within the target Treasury fields for galaxy studies.


The COSMOS 2-Degree ACS Survey

We will undertake a 2 square degree imaging survey {Cosmic Evolution
Survey — COSMOS} with ACS in the I {F814W} band of the VIMOS
equatorial field. This wide field survey is essential to understand
the interplay between Large Scale Structure {LSS} evolution and the
formation of galaxies, dark matter and AGNs and is the one region of
parameter space completely unexplored at present by HST. The
equatorial field was selected for its accessibility to all
ground-based telescopes and low IR background and because it will
eventually contain ~100, 000 galaxy spectra from the VLT-VIMOS
instrument. The imaging will detect over 2 million objects with I> 27
mag {AB, 10 sigma}, over 35, 000 Lyman Break Galaxies {LBGs} and
extremely red galaxies out to z ~ 5. COSMOS is the only HST project
specifically designed to probe the formation and evolution of
structures ranging from galaxies up to Coma-size clusters in the epoch
of peak galaxy, AGN, star and cluster formation {z ~0.5 to 3}. The
size of the largest structures necessitate the 2 degree field. Our
team is committed to the assembly of several public ancillary datasets
including the optical spectra, deep XMM and VLA imaging, ground-based
optical/IR imaging, UV imaging from GALEX and IR data from SIRTF.
Combining the full-spectrum multiwavelength imaging and spectroscopic
coverage with ACS sub-kpc resolution, COSMOS will be Hubble’s ultimate
legacy for understanding the evolution of both the visible and dark

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/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.

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.

NIC3 10337

The COSMOS 2-Degree ACS Survey NICMOS Parallels

The COSMOS 2-Degree ACS Survey NICMOS Parallels. This program is a
companion to program 10092.

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



  • 1309-2  Consolidated PCS Limit Modifications @ 074/1606z
  • 1319-0  DMS Limits Management @ 074/1748z
  • 1318-1  One time restoration of operational PCS database limits @ 074/1755z
  • 1316-0  Restore Safing Limits @ 074/1843z

                              SCHEDULED     SUCCESSFUL    FAILURE TIMES 
 FGS Gsacq                  10                        10 
 FGS Reacq                   06                        06 
 FHST Update                17                        17 


SpaceRef staff editor.