Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report # 3837

By SpaceRef Editor
April 13, 2005
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NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report # 3837

HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE – Continuing to collect World Class Science

DAILY REPORT        # 3837



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/NIC/NIC3/WFPC 10246 2 The HST survey of the Orion Nebula

We propose a Treasury Program of 104 HST orbits to perform the
definitive study of the Orion Nebula Cluster, the Rosetta stone of
star formation. We will cover with unprecedented sensitivity {23-25
mag}, dynamic range {~12 mag}, spatial resolution {50mas}, and
simultaneous spectral coverage {5 bands} a ~450 square arcmin field
centered on the Trapezium stars. This represents a tremendous gain
over the shallow WFC1 study made in 1991 with the aberrated HST on an
area ~15 times smaller. We maximize the HST observing efficiency using
ACS/WFC and WFPC2 in parallel with two opposite roll angles, to cover
the same total field. We will assemble the richest, most accurate and
unbiased HR diagram for pre-main-sequence objects ever made. Combined
with the optical spectroscopy already available for ~1000 sources and
new deep near-IR imaging and spectroscopy {that we propose as Joint
HST-NOAO observations}, we will be able to attack and possibly solve
the most compelling questions on stellar evolution: the calibration of
pre-main-sequence evolutionary tracks, mass segration and the
variation of the initial mass function in different environments, the
evolution of mass accretion rates vs. age and environment, disk
dissipation in environments dominated by hard vs. soft-UV radiation,
stellar multiplicity vs. disk fraction. In addition, we expect to
discover and classify an unknown, but substantial, population of
pre-Main Sequence binaries, low mass stars and brown dwarfs down to
~10 MJup. This is also the best possible way to discover dark
silhouette disks in the outskirts of the Orion Nebula and study their
evolutionary status through multicolor imaging. This program is timely
and extremely well leveraged to other programs targeting Orion: the
ACS H-alpha survey of the Orion Nebula, the recently completed 850ks
ultradeep Chandra survey, the large GTO programs to be performed with
SIRTF, plus the availability of 2MASS and various deep JHK surveys of
the core recently done with 8m class telescopes.

ACS/WFC/NIC3 10339


Type Ia supernovae {SNe Ia} provide the only direct evidence for an
accelerating universe, an extraordinary result that needs the most
rigorous test. The case for cosmic acceleration rests on the
observation that SNe Ia at z = 0.5 are about 0.25 mag fainter than
they would be in a universe without acceleration. A powerful and
straightforward way to assess the reliability of the SN Ia measurement
and the conceptual framework of its interpretation is to look for
cosmic deceleration at z > 1. This would be a clear signature of a
mixed dark-matter and dark-energy universe. Systematic errors in the
SNe Ia result attributed to grey dust or cosmic evolution of the SN Ia
peak luminosity would not show this change of sign. We have obtained a
toehold on this putative “epoch of deceleration” with SN 1997ff at z
= 1.7, and 3 more at z > 1 from our Cycle 11 program, all found and
followed by HST. However, this is too important a test to rest on just
a few objects, anyone of which could be subject to a lensed
line-of-sight or misidentification. Here we propose to extend our
measurement with observations of twelve SNe Ia in the range 1.0 < z < 1.5 or 6 such SNe Ia and 1 ultradistant SN Ia at z = 2, that will be discovered as a byproduct from proposed Treasury and DD programs. These objects will provide a much firmer foundation for a conclusion that touches on important questions of fundamental physics.

FGS 10113

Trigonometric Calibration of the Period- Luminosity Relations for
Fundamental and First- Overtone Galactic Cepheids

Cepheids are the primary distance indicators for the extragalactic
distance scale and the Hubble constant. The Hubble Constant Key
Project set the zero-point for their Cepheid distance scale by
adopting a distance to the LMC, averaged over a variety of techniques.
However, different methods give an LMC distance modulus ranging from
18.1 to 18.8, and the uncertainty in the Cepheid zero-point is now the
largest contributor to the error budget for H_0. Moreover, the low
metallicity of the LMC raises additional concerns, since the PL
relation probably depends on metallicity. The zero-point can be
determined from Hipparcos parallaxes of Galactic Cepheids out to
several hundred parsecs, but with a typical parallax error of 0.5-1
mas, the Hipparcos error bars are uncomfortably large for this
demanding application. By contrast, HST’s FGS1R interferometer can
achieve astrometric accuracy of 0.2 mas. We propose to use FGS1R to
determine trigonometric parallaxes for a sample of 9 nearby Cepheids,
including both fundamental {F} and first-overtone {FO} pulsators. We
show that the improvement in the PL relations for F and FO Cepheids
will be dramatic. We will determine the PL slopes from our nearby
solar- metallicity sample alone, without recourse to nearby galaxies
and the issue of [Fe/H] dependence. The zero-point will be determined
robustly to about 0.05 mag, based on accurate, purely geometrical

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.

WFPC2 10360


This calibration proposal is the Cycle 13 routine internal monitor for
WFPC2, to be run weekly to monitor the health of the cameras. A
variety of internal exposures are obtained in order to provide a
monitor of the integrity of the CCD camera electronics in both bays
{gain 7 and gain 15}, a test for quantum efficiency in the CCDs, and a
monitor for possible buildup of contaminants on the CCD windows.


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

HSTAR #9772:  GSACQ(1,2,2) Fine Lock Backup @ 103/06:07:38z
GSACQ(1,2,2) occurred at 05:50:49z while vehicle was LOS. At AOS at
06:07:38z, vehicle was in Fine Lock on FGS 2 only, QF1STOPF, QF1SSLEX,
QSTEPEXC and QSTOP flags were set. Further information after
engineering recorder dump. Observations affected: WFPC 86 to 90, ACS
128 to 132, NICMOS 53.  Under investigation.



                        SCHEDULED     SUCCESSFUL    FAILURE TIMES FGS Gsacq             12                       12 FGS Reacq             02                        02 FHST Update           17                       17 LOSS of LOCK


SpaceRef staff editor.