Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4325

By SpaceRef Editor
March 23, 2007
Filed under , ,
NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4325

Notice: For the foreseeable future, the daily reports may contain apparent discrepancies between some proposal descriptions and the listed instrument usage. This is due to the conversion of previously approved ACS WFC or HRC observations into WFPC2, or NICMOS observations subsequent to the loss of ACS CCD science capability in late January.


Continuing to collect World Class Science

PERIOD COVERED: UT March 22, 2007 (DOY 081)


ACS/SBC 10814  

The Masses for ultraluminous X-ray sources

Ultraluminous X-ray sources are non-nuclear sources in normal disk galaxies that are either stellar mass black holes that are super-Eddington emitters, or 1E3-1E4 Msolar black holes emitting normally. We can distinguish between these models by obtaining constraints for the mass of the primary, which can be accomplished through UV objective prism spectra. This strategy begins with the optical identification of the secondary and identification of its spectral type in order to determine its mass and the Roche Lobe radius. Secondly, we need to determine whether an accretion disk is present and if its high ionization UV line luminosities point to a stellar mass black hole or a more massive object. Finally, if the black hole is 1E3-1E4 Msolar, the orbital velocity of the secondary is so large that a Doppler shift will be detectable, even at the modest resolution of the prism.

ACS/SBC 10862

Comprehensive Auroral Imaging of Jupiter and Saturn during the International Heliophysical Year

A comprehensive set of observations of the auroral emissions from Jupiter and Saturn is proposed for the International Heliophysical Year in 2007, a unique period of especially concentrated measurements of space physics phenomena throughout the solar system. We propose to determine the physical relationship of the various auroral processes at Jupiter and Saturn with conditions in the solar wind at each planet. This can be accomplished with campaigns of observations, with a sampling interval not to exceed one day, covering at least one solar rotation. The solar wind plasma density approaching Jupiter will be measured by the New Horizons spacecraft, and a separate campaign near opposition in May 2007 will determine the effect of large-scale variations in the interplanetary magnetic field {IMF} on the Jovian aurora by extrapolation from near-Earth solar wind measurements. A similar Saturn campaign near opposition in Jan. 2007 will combine extrapolated solar wind data with measurements from a wide range of locations within the Saturn magnetosphere by Cassini. In the course of making these observations, it will be possible to fully map the auroral footprints of Io and the other satellites to determine both the local magnetic field geometry and the controlling factors in the electromagnetic interaction of each satellite with the corotating magnetic field and plasma density. Also in the course of making these observations, the auroral emission properties will be compared with the properties of the near-IR ionospheric emissions {from ground-based observations} and non thermal radio emissions, from ground-based observations for Jupiter?s decametric radiation and Cassini plasma wave measurements of the Saturn Kilometric Radiation {SKR}.

WFPC2 10815

The Blue Hook Populations of Massive Globular Clusters

Blue hook stars are a class of hot {~35,000 K} subluminous horizontal branch stars that have been recently discovered using HST ultraviolet images of the globular clusters omega Cen and NGC 2808. These stars occupy a region of the HR diagram that is unexplained by canonical stellar evolution theory. Using new theoretical evolutionary and atmospheric models, we have shown that the blue hook stars are very likely the progeny of stars that undergo extensive internal mixing during a late helium core flash on the white dwarf cooling curve. This “flash mixing” produces an enormous enhancement of the surface helium and carbon abundances, which suppresses the flux in the far ultraviolet. Although flash mixing is more likely to occur in stars that are born with high helium abundances, a high helium abundance, by itself, does not explain the presence of a blue hook population flash mixing of the envelope is required. We propose ACS ultraviolet {SBC/F150LP and HRC/F250W} observations of the five additional globular clusters for which the presence of blue hook stars is suspected from longer wavelength observations. Like omega Cen and NGC 2808, these five targets are also among the most massive globular clusters, because less massive clusters show no evidence for blue hook stars. Because our targets span 1.5 dex in metallicity, we will be able to test our prediction that flash-mixing should be less drastic in metal-rich blue hook stars. In addition, our observations will test the hypothesis that blue hook stars only form in globular clusters massive enough to retain the heliumenriched ejecta from the first stellar generation. If this hypothesis is correct, then our observations will yield important constraints on the chemical evolution and early formation history in globular clusters, as well as the role of helium self-enrichment in producing blue horizontal branch morphologies and multiple main sequence turnoffs. Finally, our observations will provide new insight into the formation of the hottest horizontal branch stars, with implications for the origin of the hot helium-rich subdwarfs in the Galactic field.

NIC1/NIC2/NIC3 8795

NICMOS Post-SAA calibration CR Persistence Part 6

A new proceedure proposed to alleviate the CR-persistence problem of NICMOS. Dark frames will be obtained immediately upon exiting the SAA contour 23, and everytime 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 i mages. Each observation will need its own CRMAP, as different SAA passages leave different imprints on the NICMOS detectors.

NIC3 11080

Exploring the Scaling Laws of Star Formation

As a variety of surveys of the local and distant Universe are approaching a full census of galaxy populations, our attention needs to turn towards understanding and quantifying the physical mechanisms that trigger and regulate the large-scale star formation rates {SFRs} in galaxies.


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

HSTARS: (None)



                      SCHEDULED      SUCCESSFUL 
FGS GSacq               06                06                         
FGS REacq               08                08               
OBAD with Maneuver 28               28 


SpaceRef staff editor.