Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4172

By SpaceRef Editor
August 8, 2006
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NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4172

HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE – Continuing to collect World Class Science


PERIOD COVERED: UT August 07, 2006 (DOY 219)


ACS/WFC 10880

The host galaxies of QSO2s: AGN feeding and evolution at high luminosities

Now that the presence of supermassive black holes in the nuclei of galaxies is a well established fact, other questions related to the AGN phenomena still have to be answered. Problems of particular interest are how the AGN gets fed, how the black hole evolves and how the evolution of the black hole is related to the evolution of the galaxy bulge. Here we propose to address some of these issues using ACS/WFC + F775W snapshot images of 73 QSO2s with redshifts in the range 0.3

ACS/HRC 10738

Earth Flats

Sky flats will be obtained by observing the bright Earth with the HRC and WFC. These observations will be used to verify the accuracy of the flats currently in the pipeline and to monitor any changes. Weekly coronagraphic monitoring is required to assess the changing position of the spots.

ACS/HRC 10752

Cycle 14 Focus Monitor

The focus of HST is measured primarily with ACS/HRC over full CVZ orbits to obtain accurate mean focus values via a well sampled breathing curve. Coma and astigmatism are also determined from the same data in order to further understand orbital effects on image quality and optical alignments. To monitor the stability of ACS to WFPC2 relative focii, we’ve carried over from previous focus monitor programs parallel observations taken with the two cameras at suitable orientations of previously observed targets, and interspersed them with the HRC CVZ visits.

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.

ACS/HRC 10828

Debris Disks Around Nearby Young M Dwarfs

We propose to obtain HST/ACS F606W coronagraphic imaging of two young {10–50 Myr}, nearby {25–55 pc} M dwarfs to resolve their debris disks in scattered light. Little is known about debris disks around M dwarfs, as very few examples are known and only one, the AU Mic debris disk, has been spatially resolved thus far. IR/sub-mm photometry of our targets indicate large quantities of exceptionally cold dust, comparable to the prototype AU Mic system, and make them excellent candidates for resolved studies with physical resolutions of 1-2 AU. HST/ACS provides an excellent capability for detection of disks in scattered light. Modeling the disk images will allow us to quantify the radial and vertical structure and to search for disk sub-structure, a potential probe of the planet formation process in these young systems. Our program can expand the census of young resolved debris disks, of which very few are currently known. M dwarfs have been largely over-looked in myriad imaging searches: our program will complement the many current programs focusing on the higher-mass AFGK stars. Because our targets belong to nearby young moving groups with known resolved disks around higher mass stars, a key potential outcome of our program is comparative study of coeval debris disks over a range of stellar masses.


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 10546

The filaments of NGC1275

The spectacular H-0alpha filaments stretching over 100 kpc around the central galaxy in the nearby Perseus cluster of galaxies, NGC1275, resemble those found around distant radio galaxies and some protogalaxies. The origin and ionization of the filaments are poorly understood and relate to heating and cooling processes in galaxy formation and evolution. We propose here to image the filaments in order to reveal their true small-scale structure and to search for clumps of young stars along them. The observations will produce the first deep high resolution images of the whole filament system and, with our 1 Ms Chandra image, constrain both particle and photon ionization models for its ionization and excitation.

ACS/WFC 10634

White Dwarf Cooling Physics: Calibrating the Clock

We know approximate ages for the Galactic disk from white dwarf cooling theory applied to local white dwarfs and for the Galactic halo from main sequence stellar evolutionary theory applied to star clusters. However, the two chronometers are not cross-calibrated to the same absolute scale; our observations will perform this cross-calibration and improve the precision of both chronometers. We propose to use HST/ACS photometry of white dwarfs in five moderately old open cluster {0.6-2.2 Gyr}, along with all available up-to-date white dwarf interior and atmosphere models and a powerful new statistical approach, to compare main sequence evolutionary theory and white dwarf cooling theory. This comparison will be done in such a manner as to test white dwarf crystallization and carbon/oxygen phase separation, as well as main sequence models in the range where they are sensitive to the degree of core overshooting and where PP burning transitions to CNO burning. This confrontation is essential before we can accurately and precisely apply white dwarf cosmochronometry to the disk and halo field populations and to globular clusters. Past support by HST for white dwarf ages in globular clusters {123 orbits for M4 and a similarly large scheduled campaign for NGC 6397} will only be fully levereged by ensuring that both stellar chronometers are calibrated to the same age scale. Only then can white dwarf chronometers live up to their potential as fundamental, independent, and new age estimators for the Galaxy.

ACS/WFC 10793

A Survey for Supernovae in Massive High-Redshift Clusters

We propose to continue our ongoing program designed to measure, to an unprecedented 30% accuracy, the SN-Ia rate in a sample of massive z=0.5-0.9 galaxy clusters. The SN-Ia rate is a poorly known observable, especially at high z, and in cluster environments. The SN rate and its redshift dependence can serve as powerful discrimiminants for a number of key issues in astrophysics and cosmology. Our observations will: 1. Put clear constraints on the characteristic SN-Ia “delay time,” the typical time between the formation of a stellar population and the explosion of some of its members as SNe-Ia. Such constraints can exclude entire categories of SN-Ia progenitor models, since different models predict different delays. 2. Help resolve the question of the dominant source of the high metallicity in the intracluster medium {ICM} – SNe-Ia, or core-collapse SNe from an early stellar population with a top-heavy IMF, perhaps those population III stars responsible for the early re-ionization of the Universe. Since clusters are excellent laboratories for studying enrichment {they generally have a simple star-formation history, and matter cannot leave their deep potentials}, the results will be relevant for understanding metal enrichment in general, and the possible role of first generation stars in early Universal enrichment. Observations obtained so far during cycle 14 yield many SNe in our cluster fields, but our follow-up campaign reveals most are not in cluster galaxies. Our interim results indicate a cluster SN rate at the very low end of the range considered, and its accuracy is limited by the small number of cluster SNe. We request additional visits to increase the number of cluster SNe and achieve a measurement that is not limited by Poisson errors. A detailed progress report is included.

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.

WFPC2 10748

WFPC2 CYCLE 14 Standard Darks

This dark calibration program obtains dark frames every week in order to provide data for the ongoing calibration of the CCD dark current rate, and to monitor and characterize the evolution of hot pixels. Over an extended period these data will also provide a monitor of radiation damage to the CCDs.


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


10393 – GSAcq (1,2,2) failed to RGA control @ 219/0848z

GSAcq (1,2,2) scheduled at 08:45:11-08:52:30 failed to acquire lock RGA control with QF1STOPF and QSTOP flags set at 219.08:48:10. OBAD’s showed RSS values of 2442.68 & 15.70 respectively. OBAD MAP showed a RSS value of 5.36.

The REacq(1,2,2) of 219/10:20:21 using same star id failed to RGA Hold due to (QF1STOPF) on FGS-1. Prior OBADs had (RSS) attitude corrections values of 1797.48 and 7.85 arcseconds. Observations affected:ACS 19 thru 21.



                        SCHEDULED      SUCCESSFUL 
FGS GSacq              10                    09 
FGS REacq               05                   04 
OBAD with Maneuver  28                   28 


SpaceRef staff editor.