Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4278

By SpaceRef Editor
January 12, 2007
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NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4278


– Continuing to collect World Class Science

PERIOD COVERED: UT January 11, 2007 (DOY 011)



A Cepheid Distance to the Coma Cluster

We propose to use the Advanced Camera for Surveys to search for Cepheid variables in two spiral galaxies in the core of the Coma cluster. A direct application of the canonical primary distance indicator at 100 Mpc will measure the far-field Hubble constant free of many of the systematic uncertainties which beset current determinations relying on secondary indicators. Establishing the far-field H_o with Cepheids will provide one of the strongest links in the extragalactic distance scale and will directly calibrate the fiducial fundamental plane of elliptical galaxies in Coma. With ACS/HRC, S/N=5 to 10 or better can be reached for Cepheids with periods of 40d to 70d at mean light in 5 orbits with the F606W filter if H_o=72 km/s/Mpc. Efficient detection and phasing can be done with twelve epochs optimally spaced for periods of 40-70d.

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 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/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.

NIC2, ACS/WFC 10802

SHOES-Supernovae, HO, for the Equation of State of Dark energy

The present uncertainty in the value of the Hubble constant {resulting in an uncertainty in Omega_M} and the paucity of Type Ia supernovae at redshifts exceeding 1 are now the leading obstacles to determining the nature of dark energy. We propose a single, integrated set of observations for Cycle 15 that will provide a 40% improvement in constraints on dark energy. This program will observe known Cepheids in six reliable hosts of Type Ia supernovae with NICMOS, reducing the uncertainty in H_0 by a factor of two because of the smaller dispersion along the instability strip, the diminished extinction, and the weaker metallicity dependence in the infrared. In parallel with ACS, at the same time the NICMOS observations are underway, we will discover and follow a sample of Type Ia supernovae at z > 1. Together, these measurements, along with prior constraints from WMAP, will provide a great improvement in HST’s ability to distinguish between a static, cosmological constant and dynamical dark energy. The Hubble Space Telescope is the only instrument in the world that can make these IR measurements of Cepheids beyond the Local Group, and it is the only telescope in the world that can be used to find and follow supernovae at z > 1. Our program exploits both of these unique capabilities of HST to learn more about one of the greatest mysteries in science.

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.


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


10618 – GSAcq (1,0,1) failed due to Search Radius Limit Exceeded on FGS 1 At AOS (011/18:30:16) GSAcq (1,0,1)scheduled for 011/17:32:53-17:38:46 failed due to Search Radius Limit Exceeded on FGS 1. Received 486 ESB a05 “Exceeded SRL”. This is a single FGS acquisition. OBAD #1: V1 212.31, V2 1759.02, V3 -80.22, RSS 1773.60 OBAD #2: unavailable due to LOS OBAD MAP: V1 -0.17, V2 -7.12, V3 -6.14, RSS 9.40

At AOS (011/19:22:26) REAcq (1,0,1) failed due to Search Radius Limit Exceeded on FGS 1. Received 486 ESB a05 “Exceeded SRL” and 1808 “TxG FHST Sanity Check Failed”. OBAD #1: V1 -63.71, V2 1005.84, V3 -36.33, RSS 1008.51 OBAD #2: unavailable due to LOS OBAD MAP: V1 1.00, V2 5.27, V3 -2.92, RSS 6.11

10619 – REacq (1,0,1) failed due to Search Radius Limit Exceeded REaca(1,0,1) scheduled at 011/20:50:24 failed due to search radius limit exceeded on FGS 1. OBAD1: V1=-71.20,V2=356.46,V3=-43.69, RSS=366.121 OBAD2: V1=2.21, V2=-3.39, V3=1.23, RSS=4.22



                         SCHEDULED      SUCCESSFUL
FGS GSacq               07                     06
FGS REacq               08                     06
OBAD with Maneuver  30                     30


SpaceRef staff editor.