Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report # 3823

By SpaceRef Editor
March 24, 2005
Filed under , ,
NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report # 3823

HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE – Continuing to collect World Class Science

DAILY REPORT        # 3823



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 CCDs daily monitor- cycle 13 – part 1

This program consists of a set of basic tests to monitor, the read
noise, the development of hot pixels and test for any source of noise
in ACS CCD detectors. The files, biases and dark will be used to
create reference files for science calibration. This programme will be
for the entire lifetime of ACS.


CCD Hot Pixel Annealing

Hot pixel annealing will continue to be performed once every 4 weeks.
The CCD TECs will be turned off and heaters will be activated to bring
the detector temperatures to about +20C. This state will be held for
approximately 12 hours, after which the heaters are turned off, the
TECs turned on, and the CCDs returned to normal operating condition.
To assess the effectiveness of the annealing, a bias and four dark
images will be taken before and after the annealing procedure for both
WFC and HRC. The HRC darks are taken in parallel with the WFC darks.
The charge transfer efficiency {CTE} of the ACS CCD detectors declines
as damage due to on-orbit radiation exposure accumulates. This
degradation has been closely monitored at regular intervals, because
it is likely to determine the useful lifetime of the CCDs. We will now
combine the annealling activity with the charge transfer efficiency
monitoring and also merge into the routine dark image collection. To
this end, the CTE monitoring exposures have been moved into this
proposal . All the data for this program is acquired using internal
targets {lamps} only, so all of the exposures should be taken during
Earth occultation time {but not during SAA passages}. This program
emulates the ACS pre-flight ground calibration and post-launch SMOV
testing {program 8948}, so that results from each epoch can be
directly compared. Extended Pixel Edge Response {EPER} and First Pixel
Response {FPR} data will be obtained over a range of signal levels for
both the Wide Field Channel {WFC}, and the High Resolution Channel


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


The White Dwarf Cooling Age and Dynamical History of the Metal-Poor
Globular Cluster NGC 6397

We propose to determine the white dwarf cooling age in the nearest
metal-poor {[Fe/H]=- 2} globular cluster, NGC 6397. This globular
cluster provides the best opportunity to test the white dwarf cooling
age in such a metal-poor system and at the same time provide a
comparison with the more metal-rich cluster {M4} which we recently
successfully observed with HST. Any {or even no} age difference
between these clusters will be important in understanding the
age-metallicity relation for these systems which reflects the star
formation history in the early Galaxy. The absolute age is an
important cosmological constraint. We expect to be able to detect age
DIFFERENCES between these clusters at the 0.5 Gyr level and absolute
ages should be accurate to 1.0 Gyr. In addition, and in contrast with
M4, NGC 6397 is highly dynamically evolved, has a collapsed core, and
the distribution of its white dwarfs throughout the cluster have
almost certainly been modified by dynamical processes. We are using
N-body simulations specifically developed for this cluster to
understand these modifications and to include their effects in our
measurement of the white dwarf luminosity function and cooling age.
Among the dynamical questions we expect to answer with this proposal
are: 1} what was the primordial binary frequency in NGC 6397? 2} can
we explain the high central concentration with a population of massive
white dwarfs and/or neutron stars? 3} do we see sufficient central
binaries to reverse the core collapse of the cluster?

FGS 10104

Calibrating the Mass-Luminosity Relation at the End of the Main

We propose to use HST-FGS1R to calibrate the mass-luminosity relation
{MLR} for stars less massive than 0.2 Msun, with special emphasis on
objects near the stellar/brown dwarf border. Our goals are to
determine M_V values to 0.05 magnitude, masses to 5 than double the
number of objects with masses determined to be less than 0.20 Msun.
This program uses the combination of HST-FGS3/FGS1R at optical
wavelengths and ground-based infrared interferometry to examine
nearby, subarcsecond binary systems. The high precision measurements
with HST-FGS3/FGS1R {to 1 mas in the separations} for these faint
targets {V = 10–15} simply cannot be equaled by any ground based
technique. As a result of these measurements, we are deriving high
quality luminosities and masses for the components in the observed
systems, and characterizing their spectral energy distributions from
0.5 to 2.2 Mum. Several of the objects included have M < 0.1 Msun, placing them at the very end of the stellar main sequence. Three of the targets are brown dwarf candidates, including the current low mass record holder, GJ 1245C, with a mass of 0.062 +/- 0.004 Msun. The payoff of this proposal is high because all 10 of the systems selected have already been resolved with HST- FGS3/FGS1R during Cycles 5--10 and contain most of the reddest objects for which masses can be determined.

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 10169

Star Formation in Luminous Infrared Galaxies: giant HII Regions and
Super Star Clusters

Luminous Infrared Galaxies {LIRGs, LIR = 10^11-10^12Lsol} and
Ultraluminous Infrared Galaxies {LIR>10^12Lsol} account for
approximately 75% of all the galaxies detected in the mid-infrared in
the redshift range z=0-1.5. In the local universe it is found that
LIRGs are predominantly powered by intense star formation {SF}.
However, the physical conditions and processes governing such dramatic
activity over scales of tens to a few hundred parsecs are poorly
known. In the last decade HST has been playing a significant role,
mainly with the discovery of super star clusters {SSCs}, and more
recently, giant HII regions. Based on observations of a few LIRGs, we
found that these giant HII regions and associated SSCs appear to be
more common in LIRGs than in normal galaxies, and may dominate the
star formation activity in LIRGs. A larger sample is required to
address fundamental questions. We propose an HST/NICMOS targeted
campaign of a volume limited sample {v<5200km/s} of 24 LIRGs. This proposal will probe the role of giant HII regions in the overall energetics of the current star formation, their relation to SSCs, and the dependence of star formation properties on other parameters of LIRGs. Such detailed knowledge of the SF properties of LIRGs in the local universe is essential for understanding galaxies at high redshift.

NIC2 10173

Infrared Snapshots of 3CR Radio Galaxies

Radio galaxies are an important class of extragalactic objects: they
are one of the most energetic astrophysical phenomena and they provide
an exceptional probe of the evolving Universe, lying typically in high
density regions but well-represented across a wide redshift range. In
earlier Cycles we carried out extensive HST observations of the 3CR
sources in order to acquire a complete and quantitative inventory of
the structure, contents and evolution of these important objects.
Amongst the results, we discovered new optical jets, dust lanes,
face-on disks with optical jets, and revealed point-like nuclei whose
properties support FR-I/BL Lac unified schemes. Here, we propose to
obtain NICMOS infrared images of 3CR sources with z<0.3 as a major enhancement to an already superb dataset. We aim to deshroud dusty galaxies, study the underlying host galaxy free from the distorting effects of dust, locate hidden regions of star formation and establish the physical characteristics of the dust itself. We will measure frequency and spectral energy distributions of point-like nuclei, expected to be stronger and more prevalent in the IR, seek spectral turnovers in known synchrotron jets and find new jets. We will strongly test unified AGN schemes and merge these data with existing X-ray to radio observations. The resulting database will be an incredibly valuable resource to the astronomical community for years to come.

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.


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


  • 17404-1  TRTT #7 Execution @082/1821z


  • 1319-1  DMS Limit Adjustment @082/2017z
  • 1317-1  Safing Limit Adjustment @082/2029z
  • 1315-3  Adjust ACS Error Count (LIM RESTORE JERRCNT & JMCIHVOF @083/0311z

                             SCHEDULED     SUCCESSFUL    FAILURE TIMES 
 FGS Gsacq                  12                       12 
 FGS Reacq                   5                         5 
 FHST Update                22                        22 



The 7th iteration of the FGS-2R TRT Trending test was successfully
executed today. The first execution of the macro was done from
082/14:54 – 15:20 and the second execution of the macro was done from
082/18:21 – 18:46. The Guide star acquisitions between the two tests
and after the second test performed nominally.

SpaceRef staff editor.