Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report # 3877

By SpaceRef Editor
June 9, 2005
Filed under , ,

HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE – Continuing to collect World Class Science

DAILY REPORT       # 3877

PERIOD COVERED: UT June 08, 2005 (DOY 159)


ACS/HRC 10137

Cluster Archeology: The Origin of Ultra-compact Dwarf Galaxies

Ultra-compact dwarf {UCD} galaxies are a new type of galaxy we have
discovered in the central regions of the Fornax and Virgo galaxy
clusters. Our most recent observations in the Fornax Cluster show that
UCDs outnumber normal galaxies in the centre of that cluster. Here we
propose snapshot imaging of UCDs in the Fornax and Virgo clusters to
test theories of how these fascinating objects formed. In particular
we wish to image Virgo cluster UCDs for which we have ground-based
Keck spectroscopy to test predictions that they formed more recently
than the Fornax UCDs.

ACS/HRC 10182

Towards a Comprehensive Understanding of Type Ia Supernovae: The
Necessity of UV Observations

Type Ia supernovae {SNe Ia} are very important to many diverse areas
of astrophysics, from the chemical evolution of galaxies to
observational cosmology which led to the discovery of dark energy and
the accelerating Universe. However, the utility of SNe Ia as
cosmological probes depends on the degree of our understanding of SN
Ia physics, and various systematic effects such as cosmic chemical
evolution. At present, the progenitors of SNe Ia and the exact
explosion mechanisms are still poorly understood, as are evolutionary
effects on SN Ia peak luminosities. Since early-time UV spectra and
light curves of nearby SNe Ia can directly address these questions, we
propose an approach consisting of two observational components: {1}
Detailed studies of two very bright, young, nearby SNe Ia with HST UV
spectroscopy at 13 epochs within the first 1.5 months after discovery;
and {2} studies of correlations with luminosity for five somewhat more
distant Hubble-flow SNe Ia, for which relative luminosities can be
determined with precision, using 8 epochs of HST UV spectroscopy
and/or broad-band imaging. The HST data, along with extensive
ground-based optical to near-IR observations, will be analyzed with
state-of-the-art models to probe SN Ia explosion physics and constrain
the nature of the progenitors. The results will form the basis for the
next phase of precision cosmology measurements using SNe Ia, allowing
us to more fully capitalize on the substantial past {and future}
investments of time made with HST in observations of high-redshift SNe

ACS/HRC 10375

Stability of the ACS CCD: Flat fielding, Photometry, Geometry

This program will verify that the low frequency flat fielding, the
photometry, and the geometric distortion are stable in time and across
the field of view of the CCD detectors. A moderately crowded stellar
field, located ~6′ West of the center of the cluster 47 Tuc, is
observed every three months with the WFC and HRC using the full suite
of broad and narrow band filters. The same field has been observed
during SMOV to derive low frequency corrections to the ground flats
and to create a master catalogue of positions and magnitudes from
dithered observations of the cluster. In Cycles 11-12, this field was
observed again using single pointings at various roll angles. The
positions and magnitudes of objects are used to monitor local and
large scale variations in the plate scale and the sensitivity of the
detectors. The Cycle 13 program will continue to monitor these effects
and will derive an independent measure of the detector CTE.


ACS CCDs daily monitor – Cycle 13 – Part 2

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 program will be
for the entire lifetime of ACS.

ACS/SBC 10231

Tracing the Reionization History of Intergalactic Helium out to
Redshift 3.8

We have found He II absorption in a quasar at redshift 3.82 via our
Cycle 12 program of UV snapshots. This is the highest redshift yet at
which He II absorption has been observed, and we propose to study
helium ionization in the IGM along this new, long, unobscured
sightline to high-redshift. The object has UV flux comparable to that
of the rare handful of other z>3 quasars known to be suitable for
helium studies, and it is also in the Continuous Viewing Zone. The
proposed spectrum will allow us to study the evolution and properties
of the IGM and ionizing radiation from z=3.8 {the IGM environment near
the quasar} all the way down to z=2.8. This redshift range may span
the epoch of helium reionization, and even extends to high enough
redshift to enable improved helium opacity measures using both He II
Ly-alpha and Ly-beta. This program is now approved to use ACS prism.

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.

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 10418

Morphologies and Color Gradients of Galaxies with the Oldest Stellar
Populations at High Redshifts

We have isolated a sample of 9 luminous {~2L*} galaxies with the very
oldest stellar populations at their respective redshifts. The galaxies
have been found in radio- source fields chosen to be at the key
redshifts z~1.5 and z~2.5, which allow the cleanest separation of old
stellar populations from highly reddened starbursts with colors
derived from standard filter combinations. Ground-based observations
in excellent seeing and with adaptive optics of 3 of these galaxies
indicate that all 3 are dominated by well relaxed disks of old stars,
suggesting that the first large stellar systems to form in the
universe were disks in which star formation proceeded extremely
rapidly and efficiently. In order to test this conjecture, we are
requesting NICMOS2 exposures of our sample to obtain high S/N imaging
in the F160W filter to determine detailed morphologies of the old
stellar population, coupled with either NICMOS2 F110W or ACS F814W
exposures {depending on redshift} to determine color gradients and/or
other systematic color variations that might provide clues to
formation processes.

NIC2 10428

The colours of QSO host galaxies at z=2 and the evolution of their
stellar masses

We propose to use NICMOS imaging to measure the rest-frame optical/UV
colours of a complete sample of 10 QSO host galaxies at redshifts
between z=1.5 and z=2. From our cycle 11 HST observations {the GEMS
project} we know that QSO host galaxies at redshifts of z~1 show blue
colors despite having early-type morphologies. This is in excellent
agreement with recent SDSS results on low-z AGN hosts, suggesting that
QSO-type activity in galaxies correlates strongly with the presence of
a young stellar population. Our proposed NICMOS observations will
allow us to test the validity of this hypothesis out to z~2, by
relating the observed QSO host colours to those of normal galaxies at
similar redshifts taken from GOODS. We have already established within
GEMS that the QSO hosts in our sample possess substantial UV
luminosities, most likely originating from young stars. Knowing
rest-frame colors, we can estimate stellar ages and stellar masses.
For the first time will it be possible to determine the evolution of
stellar masses in QSO host galaxies from z=2, the epoch of maximum QSO
activity, to the present. Our results will shed light on the relation
between nuclear activity and the star formation history of galaxies,
and how these processes may jointly drive the cosmic evolution of QSOs
and galaxies.


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

HSTARS: (None)


1347-0 – ACS FSW CS 4.01 (JV0017P01) Load Delivery (F-string) @ 159/1936z

                              SCHEDULED     SUCCESSFUL    FAILURE TIMES 
 FGS Gsacq                   7                         7 
 FGS Reacq                   8                         8 
 FHST Update               14                       14 


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