Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #3931

By SpaceRef Editor
August 25, 2005
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HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE – Continuing to collect World Class Science

DAILY REPORT       # 3931

PERIOD COVERED: UT August 24, 2005 (DOY 236)


ACS/HRC 10627

A Snapshot Survey of Post-AGB Objects and Proto-Planetary Nebulae

We propose an ACS/HRC snapshot survey of 50 post-AGB sources, objects which have evolved from the AGB but may or may not become planetary nebulae {PNe}. This survey will complement existing HST images of proto-planetary nebulae {PPNe} and PNe in addressing circumstellar envelope morphology as a function of: 1} the progenitor star mass; 2} the chemical composition; and 3} evolutionary stage. We will connect the observed diversity of nebualar shapes with the main physical and chemical conditions characterizing post-AGB objects, to identify the mechanism that breaks the symmetry of AGB mass loss. To our knowledge, no previous HST projects have been specifically designed to address this issue. From our database of 360 post-AGB candidates, we have selected approximately 50 targets, none of which have been or are being observed with HST, to sample different central star masses, chemical compositions, and evolutionary stages, uniformly across the sky. These new data will also provide important constraints to a quantitative analysis of Spitzer Space Telescope {SST} observations planned for a similar sample of objects. We will model the HST images and SST spectra using our axisymmetric dust code 2-Dust, to derive dust density distributions, pole to equator density ratios, dust shell masses, inclination angles as well as dust composition.


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 10502

ACS Imaging of the Uranus Aurora and Hydrogen Corona

ACS SBC UV observations of Uranus are proposed with dual purposes that can be achieved with a single set of observations. First, we propose to observe the very unusual auroral of Uranus for the first time since IUE and Voyager in the 1980’s. The Uranus aurora are centered on the magnetic poles, corresponding to the 60 deg. tilted magnetic moment, closer to the equator than the rotational poles. The brighter auroral emission appears around the weaker magnetic pole. The auroral emissions are highly variable, as recorded with IUE, and the rotational phase of Uranus is not known. The observations will therefore cover the extent of a Uranus rotation {17.29 hours}, and will be repeated one-half solar rotation later to allow for variations in the solar wind at Uranus. The high sensitivity of the ACS SBC at long wavelengths will increase the sensitivity to auroral H2 emissions, and observations in cycle 14 near solar minimum will limit the sky background and reflected solar emissions from the Uranus disc. Secondly, these images will measure the extended hydrogen corona of Uranus, first seen by the Voyager 2 UVS. We propose to model the distribution of the hydrogen corona to determine the source processes in the Uranus upper atmosphere, by comparison with model runs from an exospheric code.

ACS/WFC 10497

Cepheid Calibrations of the Luminosity of Two Reliable Type Ia Supernovae and a Re- determination of the Hubble Constant

We propose to determine the luminosity of two type Ia supernovae {SNe Ia}, 1995al in NGC 3021 and SN 2002fk in NGC 1309, by observing Cepheids in their spiral hosts. Modern CCD photometry yields an extremely tight Hubble diagram for SNe Ia with a precisely determined intercept {i.e., Delta H_0/H_0}. Yet, the measurement of the true Hubble constant via SNe Ia is limited by the calibration derived from problematic and unreliable SN data. Most of the SNe Ia calibrated by HST to date are significantly compromised by the systematics of photographic photometry, high reddening and SN peculiarity, and by the photometric anomolies associated with WFPC2. The extended reach of ACS now provides opportunities to more reliably calibrate SNe Ia and H_0. Our Cepheid calibration of a reliable SN Ia dataset, SN 1994ae, using ACS in Cycle 11 resulted in a 15% increase in H_0 from the value derived by the HST SN Ia Calibration Program. Yet, there remains a terribly small sample of reliable SN Ia data sets on which to base such a crucial cosmological result. SN 1995al and SN 2002fk are two of the best observed SNe Ia both with little reddening. They provide two opportunities to use ACS for placing the calibration of H_0 via SN Ia on firmer footing and potentially improve its precision.


Probing Evolution And Reionization Spectroscopically {PEARS}

While imaging with HST has gone deep enough to probe the highest redshifts, e.g. the GOODS survey and the Ultra Deep Field, spectroscopic identifications have not kept up. We propose an ACS grism survey to get slitless spectra of all sources in a wide survey region {8 ACS fields} up to z =27.0 magnitude, and an ultradeep field in the HUDF reaching sources up to z =28 magnitude. The PEARS survey will: {1} Find and spectrocopically confirm all galaxies between z=4-7. {2} Probe the reionization epoch by robustly determining the luminosity function of galaxies and low luminosity AGNs at z = 4 – 6. With known redshifts, we can get a local measure of star formation and ionization rate in case reionization is inhomogeneous. {3} Study galaxy formation and evolution by finding galaxies in a contiguous redshift range between 4 < z < 7, and black hole evolution through a census of low-luminosity AGNs. {4} Get a robust census of galaxies with old stellar populations at 1 < z < 2.5, invaluable for checking consistency with heirarchical models of galaxy formation. Fitting these galaxies' spectra will yield age and metallicity estimates. {5} Study star-formation and galaxy assembly at its peak at 1< z < 2 by identifying emission lines in star-forming galaxies, old populations showing the 4000A break, and any combination of the two. {6} Constrain faint white dwarfs in the Galactic halo and thus measure their contribution to the dark matter halo. {7} Derive spectro-photometric redshifts by using the grism spectra along with broadband data. This will be the deepest unbiased spectroscopy yet, and will enhance the value of the multiwavelength data in UDF and the GOODS fields to the astronomical community. To this end we will deliver reduced spectra to the HST archives.

FGS 10610

Astrometric Masses of Extrasolar Planets and Brown Dwarfs

We propose observations with HST/FGS to estimate the astrometric elements {perturbation orbit semi-major axis and inclination} of extra-solar planets orbiting six stars. These companions were originally detected by radial velocity techniques. We have demonstrated that FGS astrometry of even a short segment of reflex motion, when combined with extensive radial velocity information, can yield useful inclination information {McArthur et al. 2004}, allowing us to determine companion masses. Extrasolar planet masses assist in two ongoing research frontiers. First, they provide useful boundary conditions for models of planetary formation and evolution of planetary systems. Second, knowing that a star in fact has a plantary mass companion, increases the value of that system to future extrasolar planet observation missions such as SIM PlanetQuest, TPF, and GAIA.

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.

NIC3 10406

NICMOS Imaging of Massive Galaxies at z ~ 2

We propose NICMOS F160W imaging of a sample of massive red galaxies from the Gemini Deep Deep Survey. These galaxies dominate the stellar mass density at 1.5< z < 2 and are our best link to early galaxy formation. The NICMOS images will be used in conjunction with our ACS images and deep Gemini spectra to examine the formation and early evolution of massive ellpitcal galaxy progenitors. We waive all propretary rights to the data and wil make them available on our web site as we have done with the Gemini Deep Deep Survey spectra, catalogs and ACS images.


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


9923 – ReAcq(1,3,3) takes 2 attempts to achieve CT-DV @ 233/12:44:18z OTA SE review of PTAS TC processing log for the 227P SMS reveal that the 2nd (of 5) ReAcqs for the GSAcq(1,3,3) at 233/09:22:20 took 2 attempts in CT before achieving CT-DV on FGS1. This ReAcq started at 233/12:42:28.

9924 – ReAcq(1,3,3) takes 6 attempts to achieve CT-DV @ 233/17:38:27z OTA SE review of PTAS TC processing log for the 227P SMS reveal that the 2nd (of 5) ReAcqs for the GSAcq(1,3,3) at 233/09:22:20 took 6 attempts in CT before achieving CT-DV on FGS1. This ReAcq started at 233/17:36:39.



                          SCHEDULED     SUCCESSFUL 
 FGS Gsacq             08                       08 
 FGS Reacq             08                       08 
 FHST Update          12                       12 


SpaceRef staff editor.