Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report # 3852

By SpaceRef Editor
May 4, 2005
Filed under , ,

HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE – Continuing to collect World Class Science

DAILY REPORT      #3852



ACS/HRC 10259

Planetary nebulae in the SMC: a study of stellar evolution and
populations in an extremely low-metallicity environment

The final phase of the evolution of low- and intermediate-mass stars,
the planetary nebula {PN} ejection, is thought to largely contribute
to the carbon and nitrogen enrichment in galaxies, in particular in
old stellar populations. Stellar generations forming from a carbon-
and nitrogen-enriched medium are a necessary condition for planetary
and life formation. It is essential to understand how stars go through
the process of shedding their chemically-enriched shells, and to test
the predictions of stellar evolution theory on the relationship
between stellar mass and elemental enrichment. Magellanic Cloud PNs
are ideal probes for this study. Their abundances can be directly
related to the mass of the central stars and to that of the stellar
progenitor, without the great {distance and reddening} uncertainties
that affect Galactic PNs. The UV lines are essential for calculating
the abundances of the element related to stellar evolution {C, N, O}
and to progenitor populations {e.g., Ne}. We propose to acquire UV
spectroscopy of the SMC PNs whose morphology and central star
properties has been previously determined by us with HST. We will
derive the {C, N, O} abundance-to-mass relation, and determine the
extent to which the mass of the progenitors of asymmetric PNs exceed
that of symmetric PNs. We will also test the PN luminosity function,
and probe cosmic recycling, in a very low-metallicity environment.

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 10432

Precise Distances to Nearby Planetary Nebulae

We propose to carry out astrometry with the FGS to obtain accurate and
precise distances to four nearby planetary nebulae. In 1992, Cahn et
al. noted that “The distances to Galactic planetary nebulae remain a
serious, if not THE most serious, problem in the field, despite
decades of study.” Twelve years later, the same statement still
applies. Because the distances to planetary nebulae are so uncertain,
our understanding of their masses, luminosities, scale height, birth
rate, and evolutionary state is severely limited. To help remedy this
problem, HST astrometry can guarantee parallaxes with half the error
of any other available approach. These data, when combined with
parallax measurements from the USNO, will improve distance
measurements by more than a factor of two, producing more accurate
distances with uncertainties that are of the order of ~6%. Lastly,
most planetary nebula distance scales in the literature are
statistical. They require several anchor points of known distance in
order to calibrate their zero point. Our program will provide “gold
standard” anchor points by the end of 2006, a decade before any
anticipated results from future space astrometry missions.

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.

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.

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


9794 – Unable to log on the A/string HSTNET desktop 124/01:40z FOT was
unable to log on the A/string HSTNET desktop on NT1,6,7. Response Team
had GDOC to run the External GUI Server partial recycle procedure. The
problem was cleared. FOT was able to bring up the CCS pages.


1334-0 – Turn Limits ON for certain OTA @ 123/09:16z

                           SCHEDULED     SUCCESSFUL    FAILURE TIMES 
 FGS Gsacq                06                      06 
 Reacq                11                      11 
 FHST Update             10                       10 


SpaceRef staff editor.