Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #3911

By SpaceRef Editor
July 28, 2005
Filed under , ,

HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE – Continuing to collect World Class Science


PERIOD COVERED: UT July 27, 2005 (DOY 208)


ACS/HRC 10435

Merger-Induced Populations in Early-Type Galaxy Cores

Hierarchical formation models predict that early-type galaxies are
built up over an extended period from mergers of smaller systems, a
process which should leave long- lived signatures in their light
profiles and stellar population colors. Merger events should have
continued up to relatively recent times {the last 1-5 Gyr}, and many
ellipticals and S0 bulges should therefore show evidence of multiple,
discrete, intermediate-age populations. Although there is substantial
observational support for a dissipational merger origin for some
early-type galaxies, most do not exhibit the expected anomalies in
either their light profiles or color distributions. However, existing
searches {mainly in the V and I bands} have not probed very deeply.
Here we propose high resolution, broad-band, near-ultraviolet
{2500-3400 A} imaging of the cores of bright early-type galaxies. This
is the most sensitive probe available for the detection of
spatially-segregated, multiple population components with ages in the
range 1-5 Gyr. Our sample consists of dust- and AGN-free systems with
both normal and mildly anomalous central light profiles. There is very
little existing information on the near-UV structure of early-type
galaxies, and our program would effectively explore new terrain.


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.


Unravelling NGC 3125-1: The Most Extreme Wolf-Rayet Star Cluster Known
in the Local Universe

Based on cycle 10 STIS UV spectroscopy, we have recently discovered a
star cluster, NGC 3125-1, which has the strongest known He II 1640
emission {of stellar origin} in the local universe. The number of
implied WR stars is more than an order of magnitude higher than for
any other well-studied giant HII region. Because strong He II 1640
emission has been discovered in the composite spectra of redshift 3
Lyman Break Galaxies, NGC 3125-1 potentially provides a unique
opportunity to study a nearby object with direct implications for the
stellar populations observed in the early universe. In order to
understand the origin of this anomalously strong WR feature, we
propose to obtain the first high resolution imaging of NGC 3125-1, at
wavelengths from the far ultraviolet through the near infrared. This
will allow us to simultaneously place it in the context of more
familiar objects, such as R136 in 30 Doradus, while also unravelling
the physics responsible for the observed UV spectral signature.


Focus Monitor

The focus of HST is measured from WFPC2/PC and ACS/HRC images of
stars. Multiple exposures are taken in parallel over an orbit to
determine the influence of breathing on the derived mean focus.
Observations are taken of clusters with suitable orientations to
ensure stars appear in all fields.


Life Before the Fall: Morphological Evolution of Galaxies in Groups
Prior to Cluster Assembly at z=0.37

We propose to obtain a deep ACS/WFC mosaic of a protocluster comprised
of 4 distinct galaxy groups that are gravitationally bound to each
other at z=0.37. The galaxy groups have a total combined mass
comparable to the Coma cluster and already have twice as many
absorption line galaxies as the field. The SG1120 complex thus
provides an unprecedented opportunity for determining whether
“pre-processing” in the group environment is responsible for the bulk
of observed diffences between galaxies in nearby clusters and those in
the field. High resolution imaging with HST is needed to
morphologically classify the group members and measure their
structural parameters. By combining the early-type fraction and
morphology-density relation in SG1120 with results from our wide-field
spectroscopic survey, we will test whether spectral and morphological
transformation timescales are decoupled on group scales and isolate
the environmental mechanisms responsible for such evolution. We will
also measure the Fundamental Plane and M/L ratios of the early-type
members to constrain their formation epoch and how their stellar
populations have evolved. Observations of the multiple galaxy groups
in SG1120 provide a unique dataset to the community and will aid our
understanding of how galaxies evolve in the still poorly studied group

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 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)


#17482-1:  FSW 2.8A EEPROM Installation @ 208/1457z


              SCHEDULED     SUCCESSFUL FGS Gsacq       04              04 FGS Reacq       10              10 FHST Update     08              08


FSW 2.8 Release A was successfully installed in HST486 EEPROM at
208/14:54:53z. The 2.8A EEPROM load was completed at 208/13:34:26z.
The baseline EEPROM memory dump was completed at 208/14:47:29z and
verified by FSW.

SpaceRef staff editor.