Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4166

By SpaceRef Editor
July 31, 2006
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NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4166
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HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE – Continuing to collect World Class Science

DAILY REPORT # 4166

PERIOD COVERED: UT July 28,29,30 2006 (DOY 209,210,211)

OBSERVATIONS SCHEDULED

NIC1/NIC2/NIC3 8794

NICMOS Post-SAA calibration – CR Persistence Part 5

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.

FGS 10928

Calibrating Cosmological Chronometers: White Dwarf Masses

We propose to use HST/FGS1R to determine White Dwarf {WD} masses. The unmatched resolving power of HST/FGS1R will be utilized to follow up four selected WD binary pairs. This high precision obtained with HST/FGS1R simply cannot be equaled by any ground based technique. This proposed effort complements that done by CoI Nelan in which a sample of WDs is being observed with HST/FGS1R. This proposal will dramatically increase the number of WDs for which dynamical mass measurements are possible, enabling a better calibration of the WD mass-radius relation, cooling curves, initial to final mass relations, and ultimately giving important clues to the star formation history of our Galaxy and the age of its disk as well as in other galaxies.

NIC1 10889

The Nature of the Halos and Thick Disks of Spiral Galaxies

We propose to resolve the extra-planar stellar populations of the thick disks and halos of seven nearby, massive, edge-on galaxies using ACS, NICMOS, and WFPC2 in parallel. These observations will provide accurate star counts and color-magnitude diagrams 1.5 magnitudes below the tip of the Red Giant Branch sampled along the two principal axes and one intermediate axis of each galaxy. We will measure the metallicity distribution functions and stellar density profiles from star counts down to very low average surface brightnesses, equivalent to ~32 V-mag per square arcsec. These observations will provide the definitive HST study of extra-planar stellar populations of spiral galaxies. Our targets cover a range in galaxy mass, luminosity, and morphology and as function of these galaxy properties we will provide: – The first systematic study of the radial and isophotal shapes of the diffuse stellar halos of spiral galaxies – The most detailed comparative study to date of thick disk morphologies and stellar populations – A comprehensive analysis of halo and thick disk metallicity distributions as a function of galaxy type and position within the galaxy. – A sensitive search for tidal streams – The first opportunity to directly relate globular cluster systems to their field stellar population We will use these fossil records of the galaxy assembly process preserved in the old stellar populations to test halo and thick disk formation models within the hierarchical galaxy formation scheme. We will test LambdaCDM predictions on sub-galactic scales, where it is difficult to test using CMB and galaxy redshift surveys, and where it faces its most serious difficulties.

ACS/HRC 10860

The largest Kuiper belt object

The past year has seen an explosion in the discoveries of Pluto-sized objects in the Kuiper belt. With the discoveries of the methane-covered 2003 UB313 and 2005 FY9, the multiple satellite system of 2003 EL61, and the Pluto-Charon analog system of Orcus and its satellite, it is finally apparent that Pluto is not a unique oddball at the edge of the solar system, but rather one of a family of similarly large objects in the Kuiper belt and beyond. HST observations over the past decade have been critical for understanding the interior, surface, and atmosphere of Pluto and Charon. We propose here a comprehensive series of observations designed to similarly expand our knowledge of these recently discovered Pluto-sized and near-Pluto-sized Kuiper belt objects. These observations will measure objects’ sizes and densities, explore the outcome of collisions in the outer solar system, and allow the first ever look at the interior structure of a Kuiper belt object. Our wide field survey that discovered all of these objects is nearly finished, so after five years of continuous searching we are finally almost complete in our tally of these near-Pluto-sized objects. This large HST request is the culmination of this half-decade search for new planetary-sized objects. As has been demonstrated repeatedly by the approximately 100 previous orbits devoted to the study of Pluto, only HST has the resolution and sensitivity for detailed study of these distant objects. With these new Pluto-sized objects only now being discovered we have a limited window left to still use HST for these critical observations.

ACS/HRC 10800

Kuiper Belt Binaries: Probes of Early Solar System Evolution

Binaries in the Kuiper Belt are a scientific windfall: in them we have relatively fragile test particles which can be used as tracers of the early dynamical evolution of the outer Solar System. We propose to continue a Snapshot program using the ACS/HRC that has a demonstrated discovery potential an order of magnitude higher than the HST observations that have already discovered the majority of known transneptunian binaries. With this continuation we seek to reach the original goals of this project: to accumulate a sufficiently large sample in each of the distinct populations collected in the Kuiper Belt to be able to measure, with statistical significance, how the fraction of binaries varies as a function of their particular dynamical paths into the Kuiper Belt. Today’s Kuiper Belt bears the imprints of the final stages of giant-planet building and migration; binaries may offer some of the best preserved evidence of that long-ago era.

NIC3 10761

The X-ray Spectral and Optical/IR Flux Variability in Magnetars

In the last decade it has become clear that there exists a small subset of pulsars that are powered neither by rotation nor accretion but by the decay of their enormous magnetic fields — magnetars. The origin of the X-ray emission from magnetar-candidate AXPs {Anomalous X-ray Pulsars} is fairly well understood within the framework of the magnetar model. However, where and how the optical/IR emission is produced is unclear. If, as recent models suggest, the optical/IR emission is magnetospheric, then any variation in the optical/IR flux should be accompanied by variation in the X-ray spectra. We therefore propose for joint Chandra-Hubble observations of two magnetar candidates in order to test the optical/IR emission models for magnetars.

ACS/HRC/WFC 10758

ACS CCDs daily monitor

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 programme will be for the entire lifetime of ACS. Changes from cycle 13:- The default gain for WFC is 2 e- /DN. As before bias frames will be collected for both gain 1 and gain 2. Dark frames are acquired using the default gain {2}. This program cover the period May, 31 2006- Oct, 1- 2006. The first half of the program has a different proposal number: 10729.

ACS/WFC 10624

Solving the Mystery of the Short-Hard Gamma-Ray Bursts

Eight years after the afterglow detections that revolutionized studies of the long-soft gamma-ray bursts, not even one afterglow of a short-hard GRB has been seen, and the nature of these events has become one of the most important problems in GRB research. The Swift satellite, expected to be in full operation throughout Cycle 14, will report few- arcsecond localizations for short-hard bursts in minutes, enabling prompt, deep optical afterglow searches for the first time. Discovery and observation of the first short-hard optical afterglows will answer most of the critical questions about these events: What are their distances and energies? Do they occur in distant galaxies, and if so, in which regions of those galaxies? Are they the result of collimated or quasi-spherical explosions? In combination with an extensive rapid-response ground-based campaign, we propose to make the critical high-sensitivity HST TOO observations that will allow us to answer these questions. If theorists are correct in attributing the short-hard bursts to binary neutron star coalescence events, then they will serve as signposts to the primary targeted source population for ground-based gravitational-wave detectors, and short-hard burst studies will have a vital role to play in guiding those observations.

ACS/HRC 10602

A Complete Multiplicity Survey of Galactic O2/O3/O3.5 Stars with ACS

Massive stars are preferentially formed in compact multiple systems and clusters and many of them remain spatially unresolved to date, even in our Galaxy. This has hindered the determination of the stellar upper mass limit. The lack of an accurate knowledge of the multiplicity of massive stars can also introduce biases in the calculation of the IMF at its high-mass end. We have recently used ACS/HRC to resolve HD 93129 A, the earliest O- type star known in the Galaxy, into a 55 mas binary. We propose here to extend that work into a complete multi-filter ACS imaging survey of all {20} known O2/O3/O3.5 Galactic stars to characterize the multiplicity of the most massive stars. The data will be combined with existing FGS observations to explore as large a parameter range as possible and to check for consistency. We will also derive the IMF of each system using a crowded-field photometry package and processing the data with CHORIZOS, a code that can derive stellar temperatures, extinctions, and extinction laws from multicolor photometry.

ACS/WFC 10596

AGNs with Intermediate-mass Black Holes: A Test of the Black Hole-Bulge Paradigm

The recent progress in the study of central black holes in galactic nuclei has led to a general consensus that supermassive {10^6-10^9 solar mass} black holes are closely connected with the formation and evolutionary history of large galaxies, especially their bulge component. Two outstanding issues, however, remain unresolved. Can central black holes form in the absence of a bulge? And does the mass function of central black holes extend below 10^6 solar masses? Intermediate-mass black holes {10^4-10^6 solar masses}, if they exist, may offer important clues to the nature of the seeds of supermassive black holes. In a first systematic search using the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, we have recently discovered 19 Type 1 AGNs with candidate intermediate-mass black holes that reside in low-luminosity, presumably late-type host galaxies. Follow-up observations with Keck indicate that these objects obey the low-mass extension of the well-known correlation between black hole mass and bulge stellar velocity dispersion. However, very little is known about the host galaxies themselves, including the crucial question of whether they have bulges or not. We propose to obtain ACS/WFC images of this unique sample of AGNs in order to investigate the detailed structural properties of the host galaxies. We are particularly keen to determine whether the hosts contain bulges, and if so, where they lie on the fundamental plane of spheroids compared to the bulges of supermassive black holes. We will also be able to measure an accurate optical luminosity for the AGN, which is an essential ingredient to improve the current mass estimates.

ACS/WFC 10587

Measuring the Mass Dependence of Early-Type Galaxy Structure

We propose two-color ACS-WFC Snapshot observations of a sample of 118 candidate early-type gravitational lens galaxies. Our lens-candidate sample is selected to yield {in combination with earlier results} an approximately uniform final distribution of 40 early-type strong lenses across a wide range of masses, with velocity dispersions {a dynamical proxy for mass} ranging from 125 to 300 km/s. The proposed program will deliver the first significant sample of low-mass gravitational lenses. All of our candidates have known lens and source redshifts from Sloan Digital Sky Survey data, and all are bright enough to permit detailed photometric and stellar-dynamical observation. We will constrain the luminous and dark-matter mass profiles of confirmed lenses using lensed-image geometry and lens-galaxy structural/photometric measurements from HST imaging in combination with dynamical measurements from spatially resolved ground-based follow- up spectroscopy. Hence we will determine, in unprecedented detail, the dependence of early-type galaxy mass structure and mass-to-light ratio upon galaxy mass. These results will allow us to directly test theoretical predictions for halo concentration and star-formation efficiency as a function of mass and for the existence of a cuspy inner dark-matter component, and will illuminate the structural explanation behind the fundamental plane of early-type galaxies. The lens-candidate selection and confirmation strategy that we propose has been proven successful for high-mass galaxies by our Cycle 13 Snapshot program {10174}. The program that we propose here will produce a complementary and unprecedented lens sample spanning a wide range of lens-galaxy masses.

NIC2/ACS/WFC/WFPC 10532 2 Kinematics and morphology of the most massive field disk galaxies at z>1

We propose to obtain 1 orbit NIC-2 images of a sample of the 15 most massive galaxies found at $1 < z < 1.3$. These were culled from over 20, 000 Keck spectra collected as part of DEEP and are unique among high redshift massive galaxy samples in being kinematically selected. We intend to test whether these potentially very young galaxies are likely precursors to massive local disks, assuming no further merging. NIC-2 images provide rest-frame optical morphologies that will show whether they are normal disky systems or instead more disturbed looking objects with multiple subcomponents, mergers, peculiar structure, etc. NIC-2 provides near-IR resolutions sufficient to enable measurements of bulges and disks subcomponents. The near-IR will fill a critical gap in the broad-band SED photometry of the galaxy and its subcomponents to estimate mean stellar ages and stellar masses and to assess whether old stellar bulges and disks are in place at that time. Finally, this sample will yield the first statistically significant results on the $z > 1$ evolution of the Tully-Fisher relation for massive galaxies. In addition, we propose parallel observations with ACS WFC {V and I bands} and WFPC2 {I-band}. These will target up to 700 galaxies at redshifts 0.7 … 1.2 for which the DEEP2 survey has obtained precision redshifts and high-resolution kinematic data. The added HST morphology and color information will allow a variety of detailed studies on dynamical, structural, and photometric evolution of galaxies.

NIC1 10517

Imaging Astrometrically-Discovered Brown Dwarfs

We propose to image the astrometrically discovered companions of three M-dwarfs with NICMOS to more tightly constrain their masses and determine their stellar or sub-stellar natures. Each of these systems has been observed with a sensitive ground-based adaptive optics system and no companions have been detected. NICMOS results will eliminate an ambiguity in the astrometric mass measurements that arises because a companion that contributes significantly to the visible light reduces the motion of the center of light and mimics a small motion of the center of mass. In addition the astrometric measurements made with NICMOS will fix the scale of the system, distinguishing among possible orbits. Finally the color photometry will constrain the spectral types to within a couple of subtypes. When we measure the masses of astrophysical objects, we test and assist the development of the theoretical mass models. Models are based upon parameters such as age and metallicity. Determining the correct mass thus deepens our understanding of the fundamental physics of stars and substellar objects

NIC3/ACS/WFC 10504

Characterizing the Sources Responsible for Cosmic Reionization

Our group has demonstrated the role that massive clusters, acting as powerful cosmic lenses, can play in constraining the abundance and properties of low-luminosity star- forming sources beyond z~6; such sources are thought to be responsible for ending cosmic reionization. The large magnification possible in the critical regions of well- constrained clusters brings sources into view that lie at or beyond the limits of conventional exposures such as the UDF, as well as those in imaging surveys being undertaken with IRAC onboard Spitzer. We have shown that the combination of HST and Spitzer is particularly effective in delivering the physical properties of these distant sources, constraining their mass, age and past star formation history. Indirectly, we therefore gain a valuable glimpse to yet earlier epochs. Recognizing the result {and limitations} of the UDF exposure, we propose a systematic search through 6 lensing clusters with ACS and NICMOS for further z~6-7 sources in conjunction with existing deep IRAC data. Our survey will mitigate cosmic variance and extend the search both to lower luminosities and, by virtue of the NICMOS/IRAC combination, to higher redshift. The goal is to count and characterize representative sources at z~6-10 and to delineate the redshift range of activity for the planning of future observations.

FGS 10103

FGS Astrometry of a Star Hosting an Extrasolar Planet: The Mass of Upsilon Andromedae d

We propose observations with HST/FGS to determine the astrometric elements {perturbation orbit semimajor axis and inclination} produced by the outermost extra-solar planet orbiting the F8V star Upsilon Andromedae. These observations will permit us to determine the actual mass of the planet by providing the presently unknown sin i factor intrinsic to the radial velocity method which discovered this object. An inclination, i = 30degrees, within the range of one very low precision determination using reanalyzed HIPPARCOS intermediate data products, would produce the observed radial velocity amplitude, K = 66 ms with a companion mass of ~8 M_Jupiter. Such a mass would induce in Upsilon Andromedae a perturbation semi-major axis, Alpha = 0arcs0012, easily within the reach of HST/FGS fringe tracking astrometry. The proposed observations will yield a planetary mass, rather than, as previous investigations have done, only suggest a planetary mass companion.

FLIGHT OPERATIONS SUMMARY:

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

HSTARS:

#10384 GSACQ(2,3,2) fails to RGA control @ 211/03:01:04z

GSACQ(2,3,2) failed to acquire lock 3min 3sec after start of observation. No Scan Step Limit or Search Radius Limit flags were seen in extracted engineering data. REACQ(2,3,2) at 04:30:15 also failed at 04:44:01. Observations affected: ACS 196 to 202.

#10385 GSAcq(2,1,2) failed to RGA Control @ 211/13:42:01z

The GSAcq(2,1,2) failed to RGA Hold due to search radius limit exceeded on FGS-2. Pre-acquisition OBADs had (RSS) attitude error corrections values of 4120.00 and 4236.78 arcseconds. OBAD success flags incremented (mnemonic GCHACL09 equals 2). Post-acquisition OBAD/MAP had 3-axis (RSS) value of 137.60 arcseconds. REacq(2,1,2) @ 211/15:17:10 failed during LOS. Observations affected: NICMOS 45 thru 49.

COMPLETED OPS REQUEST: (None)

COMPLETED OPS NOTES:

#1512-0 Extra SSR Engineering Dump for DOY 209 @ 209/1258z


                          SCHEDULED      SUCCESSFUL 
FGS GSacq                   21               19         
FGS REacq                   23               21   
OBAD with Maneuver      88               88   

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS: (None)

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