Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4199

By SpaceRef Editor
September 15, 2006
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NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4199

HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE – Continuing to collect World Class Science


PERIOD COVERED: UT September 14, 2006 (DOY 257)


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 0.15 < z < 0.3. The primary goal is to test our recent suggestion that this population is dominated by dynamically immature disturbed clusters, and that the observed mass-temperature relation suffers strong structural segregation. If confirmed, this would represent a paradigm shift in our observational understanding of clusters, that were hitherto believed to be dominated by mature, undisturbed systems. The key observation to this endeavor is Hubble imaging of cluster cores to identify robustly tangential and radial multiple arcs and measure the shape of faint galaxies. These strong and weak lensing signals will give an accurate measure of the total mass and structure of the dark matter distribution that we will subsequently compare with X-ray and Sunyaev Zeldovich Effect observables. The broader applications of our project include 1} the calibration of mass-temperature and mass-SZE scaling relations which will be critical for the calibration of proposed dark energy experiments, and 2} the low redshift baseline study of the demographics of massive clusters to aid interpretation of future high redshift {z>1} cluster samples. For this ultimate cluster survey, we request ACS SNAPSHOTS through the F606W filter drawn from a target list of 143 clusters.

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.

NIC1/NIC2/NIC3 8793

NICMOS Post-SAA calibration – CR Persistence Part 4

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/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.


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

HSTARS: (None)



                        SCHEDULED      SUCCESSFUL
FGS GSacq               05                    05
FGS REacq               10                    10
OBAD with Maneuver  30                    30


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