Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4077

By SpaceRef Editor
March 24, 2006
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NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4077

HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE – Continuing to collect World Class Science


PERIOD COVERED: UT March 23, 2006 (DOY 082)


ACS/WFC 10475

An ACS H-alpha Survey of the Carina Nebula

We propose an H-alpha ACS imaging survey covering 540 square arcminutes of the Carina Nebula, including an unbiased survey of the bright core, and several prominent dust pillars in the rich southern region of the nebula. Carina provides an important link between well-studied nearby H II regions like Orion, and more distant mini-starbusts like 30 Doradus. CVZ orbits will allow extremely efficient use of HST to map a large area of this complex and important region — more than 95 percent of the proposed survey will be observed by HST for the first time. This survey will provide a complete census of microjets, proplyds, and silhouette disks with diameters as small as 200 AU, enough to spatially resolve disks like those in Orion, and will provide the first catalog of outflows {jets} from embedded low-mass stars, thin filamentary shocks, and wind-wind collisions in Carina. An accurate census of these phenomena is needed to characterize the star formation activity and gas dynamics as a function of position in the nebula, and to determine if models for protoplanetary disk evaporation from Orion are applicable in more extreme regions. Our previous ground-based optical and IR surveys have already revealed dozens of candidates for this type of activity — but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Our proposed HST/ACS survey promises to be a bonanza for understanding ongoing low-mass star formation influenced by extremely high-mass stars.

ACS/WFC 10496

Decelerating and Dustfree: Efficient Dark Energy Studies with Supernovae and Clusters

We propose a novel HST approach to obtain a dramatically more useful “dust free” Type Ia supernovae {SNe Ia} dataset than available with the previous GOODS searches. Moreover, this approach provides a strikingly more efficient search-and-follow-up that is primarily pre- scheduled. The resulting dark energy measurements do not share the major systematic uncertainty at these redshifts, that of the extinction correction with a prior. By targeting massive galaxy clusters at z > 1 we obtain a five-times higher efficiency in detection of Type Ia supernovae in ellipticals, providing a well-understood host galaxy environment. These same deep cluster images then also yield fundamental calibrations required for future weak lensing and Sunyaev-Zel’dovich measurements of dark energy, as well as an entire program of cluster studies. The data will make possible a factor of two improvement on supernova constraints on dark energy time variation, and much larger improvement in systematic uncertainty. They will provide both a cluster dataset and a SN Ia dataset that will be a longstanding scientific resource.

ACS/WFC 10576

An ACS Imaging Survey of the Galaxies Hosting Strong Mg II Absorption

Strong MgII absorbers {with rest-frame absorption equivalent width W_MgII > 0.3 A} at redshift z < 1 are known to arise in extended gaseous halos around luminous galaxies. Detailed absorption line studies based on high-solution spectra of background quasars yield tight constraints on the metallicity, ionization state, and kinematics of the gaseous clouds. But whether they originate in gas accreted from surrounding satellite galaxies or outflows associated with active starburst in the host galaxies remains unclear. We have recently completed a search of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey data archive for strong MgII absorbers and identified over 1000 new systems that are previously unknown. A subset of these MgII absorbers with W_MgII > 1.8 A exhibit extreme kinematics with velocity widths {exceeding 200 km/s} in our follow-up echelle spectra. Their dynamics are consistent with various scenarios that include gas accretion {with speeds exceeding the virial velocity} and starburst outflows {possibly driven by recent merger events}. Independent of their exact nature, it is clear that strong MgII systems serve as signposts to galactic halos with extreme gas dynamics. Here we propose to conduct a snapshot survey of galaxies in the fields toward high-redshift quasars with known, strong MgII absorbers at 0.5 < z < 2. We plan to obtain high spatial-resolution ACS/WFC images of 60 fields to uncover galaxies fainter than L* at the redshifts of these absorbers and study their morphology. We will complement the HST observations with follow-up spectroscopic observations and IR images acquired at the Keck and Magellan Observatories to for redshift identifications and for measuring broad-band colors. We will investigate the correlation between absorption line kinematics and galaxy morphology. In particular, we will address whether on-going mergers is responsible for the extreme dynamics observed in MgII absorption based on their rest-frame ultraviolet morphology.

ACS/WFC 10605

Quantifying Star Formation and Feedback: The M81 Group Dwarf Galaxies

Studies of the impact of star formation via stellar winds and supernovae {‘feedback’} on the properties of a galaxy are of fundamental importance to understanding galaxy evolution. One crucial aspect in these studies is a precise census of the recent star formation in a galaxy. The aim of this proposal is to obtain spatially resolved star formation histories with a time resolution of roughly 30 Myr over the last 500 Myr in a carefully designed sample using the absolutely unique capabilities of the ACS. Our sample comprises 10 galaxies in the M81 group which is host to a wide diversity of dwarf star forming galaxies. They span ranges of 6 magnitudes in luminosity, 1000 in current star formation rate, and 0.5 dex in metallicity. The ACS observations will allow us to directly observe the strength and spatial relationships of all of the star formation in these galaxies in the last 500 Myr. We can then quantify the star formation and measure {1} the fraction of star formation that is triggered by feedback, {2} the fraction of star formation that occurs in clusters and associations, and {3} to what degree future star formation is governed by the feedback from previous star formation. The ACS observations will be complemented with high-quality ancillary data collected by our team for all galaxies {e.g., Spitzer, UV/optical/NIR, VLA HI}. We will calculate the energy created by star formation events and compare it to the estimated energy deposited into the local ISM. This will enable us to construct prescriptions of how star formation and feedback depend on metallicity, size, gas content, and current star formation rates in galaxies. Our resolved star formation maps will be compared with star formation rates inferred from H-alpha, UV, and IR observations – allowing an independent calibration of these techniques. Recent ACS imaging by us of one galaxy in the same group clearly demonstrates the feasibility of the proposed program. Most of the sample galaxies are located in the CVZ, making this an extremely efficient program.

ACS/WFC 10762

The Long X-ray Jet of Quasar 4C19.44

We propose to obtain a high signal/noise image of the very long jet of 4C 19.44. The observation should provide sufficient counts per jet feature to obtain X-ray spectral indices capable of discriminating between spectral models of the jet. We will examine the data for offsets between X-ray and radio features and compare the beaming of the kpc jet with the information obtained from the pc scale using VLBI.


The link between X-ray source and stellar populations in M81

We propose to perform a deep v~26-27.0 HST-ACS survey of the nearby {3.6 Mpc} spiral galaxy M~81 in order to study the nature of its X-ray source populations detected with Chandra. For the first time in a galaxy other than the Milky-Way or the Magelanic Clouds, we will classify X-ray sources as High-Mass and Low-Mass X-ray binaries {HMXBs, LMXBs} and investigate how these populations depend on their galactic environment. The classification will be performed {a} by finding and classifying unique optical counterparts for the X-ray sources and {b} studying the stellar populations in their vicinity. Both tasks require the <0.1'' resolution of HST-ACS which matches well the positional accuracy of Chandra. Finally we will use these results together with X-ray binary evolution synthesis models in order to constrain X-ray binary {XRB} evolution channels. These data will also be a great resource for studies of the star-formation and star- cluster populations in one of the prototypical spiral galaxies.


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

HSTARS: (None)



                        SCHEDULED      SUCCESSFUL
FGS GSacq               09                   09
FGS REacq               04                   04
OBAD with Maneuver  24                   24


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