Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4168

By SpaceRef Editor
August 3, 2006
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NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4168

HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE – Continuing to collect World Class Science


PERIOD COVERED: UT August 1, 2006 (DOY 213)


ACS/WFC 10829

Secular Evolution at the End of the Hubble Sequence

The bulgeless disk galaxies at the end of the Hubble Sequence evolve at a glacial pace relative to their more violent, earlier-type cousins. The causes of their internal, or secular evolution are important because secular evolution represents the future fate of all galaxies in our accelerating Universe and is a key ingredient to understanding galaxy evolution in lower-density environments at present. The rate of secular evolution is largely determined by the stability of the cold ISM against collapse, star formation, and the buildup of a central bulge. Key diagnostics of the ISM’s stability are the presence of compact molecular clouds and narrow dust lanes. Surprisingly, edge-on, pure disk galaxies with circular velocities below 120 km/s do not appear to contain such dust lanes. We propose to obtain ACS/WFC F606W images of a well-selected sample of extremely late-type disk galaxies to measure the characteristic scale size of the cold ISM and determine if they possess the unstable, cold ISM necessary to drive secular evolution. Our sample has been carefully constructed to include disk galaxies above and below the critical circular velocity of 120 km/s where the dust properties of edge-on disks change so remarkably. We will then use surface brightness profiles to search for nuclear star clusters and pseudobulges, which are early indicators that secular evolution is at work, as well as measure the pitch angle of the dust lanes as a function of radius to estimate the central mass concentrations.

ACS/WFC/NIC2 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.

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.

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.

NIC3 10538

Near-IR Spectrophotometry of 2MASSWJ 1207334-393254B – An Extra-Solar Planetary Mass Companion

We propose to obtain “short” wavelength near-IR diagnostic and characterizing spectra of the very high probability candidate extra-solar giant planet {EGP} companion to 2MASSWJ 1207334-393254 {2M1207}, a young brown dwarf and TW Hydrae Association member. Recent NICMOS camera 1 multi-band photometric imaging of the companion candidate, 0.77″ {54 AU projected} from 2M1207 – initially detected at longer wavelengths with VLT/NACO – implicate an object of several Jupiter masses based on cooling models of EGPs and the likely age of 2M1207 {~ 8 Myr}. Physical companionship of the EGP candidate with 2M1207 has been established at the 99.1% level of confidence via second- epoch NICMOS astrometric observations. Diagnostic spectra in the 0.8 to 1.9 micron region {unobtainable from the ground and overlapping the NICMOS imaging observations} will {a} critically inform on the physical nature of the EGP, {b} provide currently non-existing information to test/constrain theoretical models of EGP properties and evolution, and {c} unequivocally confirm the imaging of a bone fide EGP. Background light from 2M1207 would normally swamp the EGP spectrum with direct spectral imaging. To obviate this, we propose PSF-subtracted grism spectra of the EGP using 2M1207 as its own spectral template via two-orientation high-contrast image subtraction. The temporal stability of the HST+NICMOS PSF enables self-subtractions of targets at different field orientations resulting in contrast enhancements of 5 to 6 stellar magnitudes in the circumstellar background at ~ 0.8″ at these wavelengths. With the grism field oriented to place the EGP “above” and “below” 2M1207 {at two observational epochs} two independent spectra of the EGP will emerge from a difference image. This prototypical spectrum will serve to test and improve upon current models of young EGPs which predict flux suppression by molecular absorption in their atmospheres.

WFPC2 10745


This calibration proposal is the Cycle 14 routine internal monitor for WFPC2, to be run weekly to monitor the health of the cameras. A variety of internal exposures are obtained in order to provide a monitor of the integrity of the CCD camera electronics in both bays {both gain 7 and gain 15 — to test stability of gains and bias levels}, a test for quantum efficiency in the CCDs, and a monitor for possible buildup of contaminants on the CCD windows. These also provide raw data for generating annual super-bias reference files for the calibration pipeline.


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


#10388 REacq(2,1,2) results in fine lock backup @ 213/13:37:40z

The REacq(2,1,2) resulted in fine lock backup (2,0,2).OBAD2 showed errors of V1=7.44, V2=-5.21, V3=-1.76, and RSS=9.25. The Map at 13:41:25 showed errores of V1=-1.15, V2=-4.97, V3=-2.12, and RSS= 5.52. Observations affected: ACS 67 and 68, NIC 5


#17865-0 Battery 1 Capacity Test Script & 5 Battery Pressure Limit COP (completed through step = 18)

#17876-0 Continuous Engineering Recording for Battery 1 BCT (ESTR Power on @ 214/ 0842z)


                          SCHEDULED      SUCCESSFUL 
FGS GSacq                  10            10 
FGS REacq                  04            04 
OBAD with Maneuver     28            28 


Battery 1 Capacity Test Flash Report:

Commanding for the Battery 1 Capacity Test started as scheduled on DOY 213/1058 GMT (08/01 at 6:58 am) with the setting of the Battery Pressure Test for a 5-battery system. Battery 1 was taken off-line and started discharging on the first opportunity at 1214 GMT (08/01 at 8:14 am). The discharge is expected to continue for approximately 50 hours. Following completion of the discharge, which is expected to occur around 215/1414 GMT (08/03 at 10:14 am), Battery 1 will be placed back online in hardware during orbit night. Following its recovery period, Battery 1 will be placed back on-line in FSW on 216/1655 GMT (08/04 at 12:55 pm).

The Battery 1 discharge switched from the High-rate to the Low-rate resistor at 213/2122 GMT.

SpaceRef staff editor.