Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4181

By SpaceRef Editor
August 21, 2006
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NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4181
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HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE – Continuing to collect World Class Science

DAILY REPORT # 4181

PERIOD COVERED: UT August 18,19,20, 2006 (DOY 230,231,232)

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 10989

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.

ACS/WFC 10882

Emission Line Snapshots of 3CR Radio Galaxies

Radio galaxies are an important class of extragalactic objects: they are one of the most energetic astrophysical phenomena and they provide an exceptional probe of the evolving Universe, lying typically in high density regions but well-represented across a wide redshift range. In earlier Cycles we carried out extensive HST observations of the 3CR sources in order to acquire a complete and quantitative inventory of the structure, contents and evolution of these important objects. We discovered new optical jets, dust lanes, and revealed point-like nuclei whose properties support AGN unified schemes. Here, we propose to obtain ACS emission line images at low and high excitation of 3CR sources with z<0.3, both low- and classical high- power radio galaxies, as a major enhancement to an already superb dataset. We aim to probe fundamental relationships between warm optical line-emitting gas, radio source structure {jets and lobes} and X-ray coronal halos. We will combine our existing UV images with new emission- line images to establish quantitative star formation characteristics and their relation to dust and merging, and with emission-line excitation maps, test theories on ionization beam patterns and luminosities from active nuclei. We will seek jet induced star formation and knowing optical emission-line physics, investigate quantitative jet physics. The nuclear emission line properties of the galaxies will themselves be established and used as ingredients in continuing tests of unified AGN theories. The resulting database will be an incredibly valuable resource to the astronomical community for years to come.

ACS/WFC 10881

The Ultimate Gravitational Lensing Survey of Cluster Mass and Substructure

We propose a systematic and detailed investigation of the mass, substructure, and thermodynamics of one hundred X-ray luminous galaxy clusters at 0.151} cluster samples. For this ultimate cluster survey, we request ACS SNAPSHOTS through the F606W filter drawn from a target list of 143 clusters.

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/NIC3 10632

Searching for galaxies at z>6.5 in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field

We propose to obtain deep ACS {F606W, F775W, F850LP} imaging in the area of the original Hubble Ultra Deep Field NICMOS parallel fields and – through simultaneous parallel observations – deep NICMOS {F110W, F160W} imaging of the ACS UDF area. Matching the extreme imaging depth in the optical and near-IR bands will result in seven fields with sufficiently sensitive multiband data to detect the expected typical galaxies at z=7 and 8. Presently no such a field exist. Our combined optical and near-IR ultradeep fields will be in three areas separated by about 20 comoving Mpc at z=7. This will allow us to give a first assessment of the degree of cosmic variance. If reionization is a process extending over a large redshift interval and the luminosity function doesn’t evolve strongly beyond z=6, these data will allow us to identify of the order of a dozen galaxies at 6.56.5. Conversely, finding fewer objects would be an indication that the bulk of reionization is done by galaxies at z=6. By spending 204 orbits of prime HST time we will capitalize on the investment of 544 prime orbits already made on the Hubble Ultra Deep Field {UDF}. We have verified that the program as proposed is schedulable and that it will remain so even if forced to execute in the 2-gyro mode. The data will be non-proprietary and the reduced images will be made public within 2 months from the completion of the observations.

ACS/HRC 10556

Neutral Gas at Redshift z=0.5

Damped Lyman-alpha systems {DLAs} are used to track the bulk of the neutral hydrogen gas in the Universe. Prior to HST UV spectroscopy, they could only be studied from the ground at redshifts z>1.65. However, HST has now permitted us to discover 41 DLAs at z<1.65 in our previous surveys. Followup studies of these systems are providing a wealth of information about the evolution of the neutral gas phase component of the Universe. But one problem is that these 41 low-redshift systems are spread over a wide range of redshifts spanning nearly 70% of the age of the Universe. Consequently, past surveys for low-redshift DLAs have not been able to offer very good precision in any small redshift regime. Here we propose an ACS-HRC- PR200L spectroscopic survey in the redshift interval z=[0.37, 0.7] which we estimate will permit us to discover another 41 DLAs. This will not only allow us to double the number of low-redshift DLAs, but it will also provide a relatively high-precision regime in the low-redshift Universe that can be used to anchor evolutionary studies. Fortunately DLAs have high absorption equivalent width, so ACS-HRC-PR200L has high-enough resoultion to perform this proposed MgII-selected DLA survey.

ACS/WFC 10505

The Onset of Star Formation in the Universe: Constraints from Nearby Isolated Dwarf Galaxies.

The details of the early star formation histories of tiny dwarf galaxies can shed light on the role in galaxy formation of the reionization which occured at high redshift. Isolated dwarfs are ideal probes since their evolution is not complicated by environmental effects owing to the vicinity of the Milky Way and M31. In addition, dwarf galaxies are the most common type of galaxies, and potentially the building blocks of larger galaxies. Since we can date the oldest stars in them, their study represents a complementary approach to the study of the formation and evolution of galaxies through high-z observations. We propose to use the ACS to obtain a homogeneus dataset of high-quality photometry, down to the old {13 Gyr} main-sequence turnoffs, for a representative sample of 4 isolated Local Group dwarf galaxies. These data are essential to unambiguously determine their early star formation histories, through comparison with synthetic color-magnitude diagrams, and using the constraints provided by their variable stars. Parallel WFPC2 observations of their halos will allow us to reveal the actual nature of their stellar population gradients, providing important aditional constraints on their evolution. The proposed observations are being complemented with ground-based spectroscopy, to obtain metallicity and kinematic information. The observations requested here, which must reach M_I=+3.5 {I=27.5- 28.2} with S/N=10 in crowded systems, can only be achieved with HST using ACS, and won’t be possible with planned ground- or space-based facilities such as JWST. Based on deep WFPC2 observations and ACS image simulations, our team has designed an observational strategy which carefully considers the optimal filter combination, the necessary photometry depth and the effects of stellar crowding.

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.

FLIGHT OPERATIONS SUMMARY:

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

HSTARS: (None)

COMPLETED OPS REQUEST: (None)

COMPLETED OPS NOTES: (None)

                          SCHEDULED      SUCCESSFUL 
FGS GSacq                26                    26 
FGS REacq                19                    19 
OBAD with Maneuver   90                    90 

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS: (None)

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