Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4276

By SpaceRef Editor
January 11, 2007
Filed under , ,
NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4276


– Continuing to collect World Class Science

PERIOD COVERED: UT January 10, 2007 (DOY 010)


ACS/HRC 11041

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. For cycle 15 the program will cover 18 months 12.1.06->05.31.08 and it has been divied into three different proposal each covering six months. The three proposals are 11041-11042-11043.

ACS/WFC 10760

Black Hole X-ray Novae in M31

We have been carring out a Chandra {GO+GTO} and HST {GO} program to find Black Hole X-ray Nova {BHXN} and their optical counterparts in M31 for several years. To date we have found >2 dozen BHXN and 3 HST optical counterparts for these BHXN. Our results suggest a rather high ratio of BH to neutron star {NS} binaries, or a high duty cycle for the BHXN. We propose to continue this program, with the goal of determining the orbital period distribution and duty cycles of these BHXN. Current results yield 3 orbital periods and 2 upper limits. Our proposed observations will ~double the total number of periods and therefore yield sufficient numbers to make a first approximation of the orbital period distribution. The orbital period distribution is the fundamental observable parameter any binary stellar evolution models must match, and the duty cycle is very poorly known but directly influences the binary lifetime. M31 is the only galaxy in which this extra-galactic study of BHXN is feasible.

ACS/WFC 10918

Reducing Systematic Errors on the Hubble Constant: Metallicity Calibration of the Cepheid PL Relation

Reducing the systematic errors on the Hubble constant is still of significance and of immediate importance to modern cosmology. One of the largest remaining uncertainties in the Cepheid- based distance scale {which itself is at the foundation of the HST Key Project determination of H_o} which can now be addressed directly by HST, is the effect of metallicity on the Cepheid Period-Luminosity relation. Three chemically distinct regions in M101 will be used to directly measure and thereby calibrate the change in zero point of the Cepheid PL relation over a range of metallicities that run from SMC-like, through Solar, to metallicities as high as the most metal- enriched galaxies in the pure Hubble flow. ACS for the first time offers the opportunity to make a precise calibration of this effect which currently accounts for at least a third of the total systematic uncertainty on Ho. The calibration will be made in the V and I bandpasses so as to be immediately and directly applicable to the entire HST Cepheid-based distance scale sample, and most especially to the highest-metallicity galaxies that were hosts to the Type Ia supernovae, which were then used to extend the the distance scale calibration out to cosmologically significant distances.

ACS/WFC 11052

Internal Flat Fields

The stability of the CCD P-flat fields will be monitored using the calibration lamps and a sub- sample of the filter set. High signal observations will be used to assess the stability of the pixel- to-pixel flat field structure and to monitor the position of the dust motes.

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 11057

Cycle 15 NICMOS dark current, shading profile, and read noise monitoring program

The purpose of this proposal is to monitor the dark current, read noise, and shading profile for all three NICMOS detectors throughout the duration of Cycle 15. This proposal is a slightly modified version of proposal 10380 of cycle 13 and 9993 of cycle12 and is the same as Cycle 14. that we cut down some exposure time to make the observation fit within 24 orbits.

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 10861

An ACS Treasury Survey of the Coma cluster of galaxies

We propose to use the unique spatial resolution of HST and ACS to construct a Treasury imaging survey of the core and infall region of the richest local cluster, Coma. We will observe samples of thousands of galaxies down to magnitude B=27.3 with the aim of studying in detail the dwarf galaxy population which, according to hierarchical models of galaxy formation, are the earliest galaxies to form in the universe. Our initial scientific objectives are: 1} A study of the structure of the dwarf galaxies, including scaling laws, nuclear structure and morphology, to compare with hierarchical and evolutionary models of their formation. 2} A study of the stellar populations from colors and color gradients, and how the internal chemical evolution of galaxies is affected by interaction with the cluster gaseous and galaxy environment. 3} To determine the effect of the cluster environment upon morphological features, disks, bulges and bars, by comparing these structure in the Coma sample with field galaxy samples. 4} Identification of dwarf galaxy samples for further study with the new generation of multi-object and integral-field spectrographs on 8-10 metre class telescopes such as Keck, Subaru, Gemini, and GTC. This is the first such survey of a nearby rich cluster. It will provide a key database for studies of galaxy formation and evolution, and a very needed reference for comparison with similar galaxy surveys both in lower density environments in the nearby universe, and in high density environments at high redshifts.

WFPC2 10915

ACS Nearby Galaxy Survey

Existing HST observations of nearby galaxies comprise a sparse and highly non-uniform archive, making comprehensive comparative studies among galaxies essentially impossible. We propose to secure HST’s lasting impact on the study of nearby galaxies by undertaking a systematic, complete, and carefully crafted imaging survey of ALL galaxies in the Local Universe outside the Local Group. The resulting images will allow unprecedented measurements of: {1} the star formation history {SFH} of a >100 Mpc^3 volume of the Universe with a time resolution of Delta[log{t}]=0.25; {2} correlations between spatially resolved SFHs and environment; {3} the structure and properties of thick disks and stellar halos; and {4} the color distributions, sizes, and specific frequencies of globular and disk clusters as a function of galaxy mass and environment. To reach these goals, we will use a combination of wide-field tiling and pointed deep imaging to obtain uniform data on all 72 galaxies within a volume-limited sample extending to ~3.5 Mpc, with an extension to the M81 group. For each galaxy, the wide-field imaging will cover out to ~1.5 times the optical radius and will reach photometric depths of at least 2 magnitudes below the tip of the red giant branch throughout the limits of the survey volume. One additional deep pointing per galaxy will reach SNR~10 for red clump stars, sufficient to recover the ancient SFH from the color-magnitude diagram. This proposal will produce photometric information for ~100 million stars {comparable to the number in the SDSS survey} and uniform multi-color images of half a square degree of sky. The resulting archive will establish the fundamental optical database for nearby galaxies, in preparation for the shift of high-resolution imaging to the near-infrared.


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


10613 – GSAcq (2,1,1) failed due to Search Radius Limit Exceeded on FGS 2 GSAcq (2,1,1) scheduled from 010/14:20:38-14:27:57 failed due to Search

Radius Limit Exceeded on FGS 2. OBAD #1: V1 1259.99, V2 3355.59, V3 -105.60, RSS 3585.91 a-s OBAD #2: V1 -12.18, V2 -6.61, V3 -19.14, RSS 23.63 a-s OBAD MAP: V1 3.62, V2 4.06, V3 8.84, RSS 10.38 At aos 010/16:48:16 reacq (2,1,1) scheduled 010/15:55:47-16:03:06 failed due to search radius limit exceeded on fgs 2. OBAD #1 & #2 unavailable due to LOS OBAD MAP: V1 0.63, V2 -1.59, V3 -1.60, RSS 2.35



                        SCHEDULED      SUCCESSFUL
FGS GSacq               06                   05
FGS REacq               09                   08
OBAD with Maneuver  30                    30


SpaceRef staff editor.