Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4371

By SpaceRef Editor
May 29, 2007
Filed under , ,
NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4371

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 May 25,26,27,28, 2007 (DOY 145,146,147,148)


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=3Ddate/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.

ACS/SBC 11225

The Wavelength Dependence of Accretion Disk Structure

We can now routinely measure the size of quasar accretion disks using gravitational microlensing of lensed quasars. The next step to testing accretion disk models is to measure the size of accretion disks as a function of wavelength, particularly at the UV and X-ray wavelengths that should probe the inner, strong gravity regime. Here we focus on two four-image quasar lenses that already have optical {R band} and X-ray size measurements using microlensing. We will combine the HST observations with ground-based monitoring to measure the disk size as a function of wavelength from the near-IR to the UV. We require HST to measure the image flux ratios in the ultraviolet continuum near the Lyman limit of the quasars. The selected targets have estimated black hole masses that differ by an order of magnitude, and we should find wavelength scalings for the two systems that are very different because the Blue/UV wavelengths should correspond to parts of the disk near the inner edge for the high mass system but not in the low mass system. The results will be modeled using a combination of simple thin disk models and complete relativistic disk models. While requiring only 18 orbits, success for one system requires observations in both Cycles 16 and 17.

NIC3 11082

NICMOS Imaging of GOODS: Probing the Evolution of the Earliest Massive Galaxies, Galaxies Beyond Reionization, and the High Redshift Obscured Universe

Deep near-infrared imaging provides the only avenue towards understanding a host of astrophysical problems, including: finding galaxies and AGN at z > 7, the evolution of the most massive galaxies, the triggering of star formation in dusty galaxies, and revealing properties of obscured AGN. As such, we propose to observe 60 selected areas of the GOODS North and South fields with NICMOS Camera 3 in the F160W band pointed at known massive M > 10^11 M_0 galaxies at z > 2 discovered through deep Spitzer imaging. The depth we will reach {26.5 AB at 5 sigma} in H_160 allows us to study the internal properties of these galaxies, including their sizes and morphologies, and to understand how scaling relations such as the Kormendy relationship evolved. Although NIC3 is out of focus and undersampled, it is currently our best opportunity to study these galaxies, while also sampling enough area to perform a general NIR survey 1/3 the size of an ACS GOODS field. These data will be a significant resource, invaluable for many other science goals, including discovering high redshift galaxies at z > 7, the evolution of galaxies onto the Hubble sequence, as well as examining obscured AGN and dusty star formation at z > 1.5. The GOODS fields are the natural location for HST to perform a deep NICMOS imaging program, as extensive data from space and ground based observatories such as Chandra, GALEX, Spitzer, NOAO, Keck, Subaru, VLT, JCMT, and the VLA are currently available for these regions. Deep high-resolution near-infrared observations are the one missing ingredient to this survey, filling in an important gap to create the deepest, largest, and most uniform data set for studying the faint and distant universe. The importance of these images will increase with time as new facilities come on line, most notably WFC3 and ALMA, and for the planning of future JWST observations.

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.

ACS/SBC 11074

ACS/SBC Darks in Support of Specific SBC Science Observations

This program provides SBC DARK visits to be scheduled in conjuction with certain specific science observations which require the SBC to be turned on in the orbit preceeding the science observation.

WFPC2 11022

WFPC2 Cycle 15 Decontaminations and Associated Observations

This proposal is for the WFPC2 decons. Also included are instrument monitors tied to decons: photometric stability check, focus monitor, pre- and post-decon internals {bias, intflats, kspots, & darks}, UV throughput check, VISFLAT sweep, and internal UV flat check.

WFPC2 11020

Cycle 15 Focus Monitor

The focus of HST is measured primarily with ACS/HRC over full CVZ orbits to obtain accurate mean focus values via a well sampled breathing curve. Coma and astigmatism are also determined from the same data in order to further understand orbital effects on image quality and optical alignments. To monitor the stability of ACS to WFPC2 relative focii, we’ve carried over from previous focus monitor programs parallel observations taken with the two cameras at suitable orientations of previously observed targets, and interspersed them with the HRC CVZ visits.

WFPC2 10880

The host galaxies of QSO2s: AGN feeding and evolution at high luminosities

Now that the presence of supermassive black holes in the nuclei of galaxies is a well established fact, other questions related to the AGN phenomena still have to be answered. Problems of particular interest are how the AGN gets fed, how the black hole evolves and how the evolution of the black hole is related to the evolution of the galaxy bulge. Here we propose to address some of these issues using ACS/WFC + F775W snapshot images of 73 QSO2s with redshifts in the range 0.3WFPC2 10877

A Snapshot Survey of the Sites of Recent, Nearby Supernovae

During the past few years, robotic {or nearly robotic} searches for supernovae {SNe}, most notably our Lick Observatory Supernova Search {LOSS}, have found hundreds of SNe, many of them in quite nearby galaxies {cz < 4000 km/s}. Most of the objects were discovered before maximum brightness, and have follow-up photometry and spectroscopy; they include some of the best-studied SNe to date. We propose to conduct a snapshot imaging survey of the sites of some of these nearby objects, to obtain late-time photometry that {through the shape of the light and color curves} will help reveal the origin of their lingering energy. The images will also provide high-resolution information on the local environments of SNe that are far superior to what we can procure from the ground. For example, we will obtain color-color and color-magnitude diagrams of stars in these SN sites, to determine the SN progenitor masses and constraints on the reddening. Recovery of the SNe in the new HST images will also allow us to actually pinpoint their progenitor stars in cases where pre- explosion images exist in the HST archive. This proposal is an extension of our successful Cycle 13 snapshot survey with ACS. It is complementary to our Cycle 15 archival proposal, which is a continuation of our long-standing program to use existing HST images to glean information about SN environments.

WFPC2 10870

The Ring Plane Crossings of Uranus in 2007

The rings of Uranus turn edge-on to Earth in May and August 2007. In between, we will have a rare opportunity to see the unlit face of the rings. With the nine optically thick rings essentialy invisible, we will observe features and phenomena that are normally lost in their glare. We will use this opportunity to search thoroughly for the embedded “shepherd” moons long believed to confine the edges of the rings, setting a mass limit roughly 10 times smaller than that of the smallest shepherd currently known, Cordelia. We will measure the vertical thicknesses of the rings and study the faint dust belts only known to exist from a single Voyager image. We will also study the colors of the newly-discovered faint, outer rings; recent evidence suggests that one ring is red and the other blue, implying that each ring is dominated by a different set of physical processes. We will employ near- edge-on photometry from 2006 and 2007 to derive the particle filling factor within the rings, to observe how ring epsilon responds to the “traffic jam” as particles pass through its narrowest point, and to test the latest models for preserving eccentricities and apse alignment within the rings. Moreover, this data set will allow us to continue monitoring the motions of the inner moons, which have been found to show possibly chaotic orbital variations; by nearly doubling the time span of the existing ACS astrometry, the details of the variations will become much clearer.

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}.

NIC2 10858

NICMOS Imaging of the z ~ 2 Spitzer Spectroscopic Sample of Ultraluminous Infrared

We propose to obtain NICMOS images of the first large sample of high-z ultra-luminous infrared galaxies {ULIRGs} whose redshifts and physical states have been determined with Spitzer mid-IR spectra. The detection of strong silicate absorption and/or PAH emission lines suggest that the these sources are a mixture of highly obscured starbursts, AGNs and composite systems at z=3D2. Although some of the spectra show PAH =
emission similar to local starburst ULIRGs, their bolometric luminosities are roughly an order of magnitude higher. One important question is if major mergers, which are the trigger for 95% of local ULIRGs, also drive this enormous energy output observed in our z=3D2 sample. The NICMOS images will allow us to {1} measure surface brightness profiles of z~2 ULIRGs and establish if major mergers could be common among our luminous sources at these early epochs, {2} determine if starbursts and AGNs classified based on their mid-IR spetra would have different morphological signatures, thus different dynamic state; {3} make comparisons with the similar studies of ULIRGs at z ~ 0 – 1, thus infer any evolutionary connections between high-z ULIRGs and the formation of normal, massive galaxies and quasars observed today.

NIC3 10855

The Near-IR Spectra and Thermal Emission of Hot Jupiters

We propose to observe the brightest transiting exoplanet systems, HD 209458b and HD 189733b, during both primary eclipse {transit} and secondary eclipse {when the planet is behind the star}. A successful measurement would result in the spectral characterization of both dayside and nightside thermal emission. This, in turn, would result in several important determinations, including {1} the temperature of the dayside, {2} the temperature of the nightside, {3} the probable detection of water, {4} strong constraints on the presence or absence of clouds, and {5} constraints on models of atmospheric transport between the day and night sides. Our selected wavelength region of 1.4 to 2.4 microns includes the two most prominent predicted features {water} in models for hot Jupiter emission. For these observations, we propose to use the NICMOS 3 grism and selected narrow band filters in a carefully designed, differential observation intended to achieve a dynamic range of 10,000:1. Our proposed observations are uniquely enabled by HST, which alone has the combination of stability, sensitivity, wavelength coverage, and dynamic range to make these high- impact observations possible.

WFPC2 10826

Galaxy Evolution During Half the Age of the Universe: ACS imaging of rich galaxy clusters

Detailed studies of nearby galaxies {z<0.05} show that galaxies have very complex histories of formation and evolution involving mergers, bursts of star formation, and morphological changes. Even so, the global properties of the galaxies {radii, luminosities, rotation velocities, velocity dispersions, and absorption line strengths} follow a number of very tight {empirical} scaling relations, e.g. the Tully-Fisher relation and the Fundamental Plane {FP}. We use the scaling relations plus quantative morphological measures for galaxy clusters up to z=3D1 to constrain models for galaxy evolution. Here we request 24 orbits to obtain ACS imaging of the remaining three clusters in our sample at z~0.7-1.0. High resolution imaging of the clusters is critical for our study of star formation histories and structural evolution in dense environments since z<1. We have previously obtained deep spectroscopic observations of the clusters with Gemini. The data will provide samples large enough to establish the slope of the FP for each cluster. With multiple clusters at similar redshifts, we can probe evolutionary differences within a single epoch in order to decouple changes due to different environments. Our two other high-z clusters exhibit different chemical enrichment histories, which we argue are due to the different merging histories of these clusters.

NIC2 10798

Dark Halos and Substructure from Arcs & Einstein Rings

The surface brightness distribution of extended gravitationally lensed arcs and Einstein rings contains super-resolved information about the lensed object, and, more excitingly, about the smooth and clumpy mass distribution of the lens galaxies. The source and lens information can non-parametrically be separated, resulting in a direct “gravitational image” of the inner mass-distribution of cosmologically-distant galaxies {Koopmans 2005; Koopmans et al. 2006 [astro-ph/0601628]}. With this goal in mind, we propose deep HST ACS-F555W/F814W and NICMOS-F160W WFC imaging of 20 new gravitational-lens systems with spatially resolved lensed sources, of the 35 new lens systems discovered by the Sloan Lens ACS Survey {Bolton et al. 2005} so far, 15 of which are being imaged in Cycle-14. Each system has been selected from the SDSS and confirmed in two time- efficient HST-ACS snapshot programs {cycle 13&14}. High-fidelity multi-color HST images are required {not delivered by the 420s snapshots} to isolate these lensed images {properly cleaned, dithered and extinction-corrected} from the lens galaxy surface brightness distribution, and apply our “gravitational maging” technique. Our sample of 35 early-type lens galaxies to date is by far the largest, still growing, and most uniformly selected. This minimizes selection biases and small-number statistics, compared to smaller, often serendipitously discovered, samples. Moreover, using the WFC provides information on the field around the lens, higher S/N and a better understood PSF, compared with the HRC, and one retains high spatial resolution through drizzling. The sample of galaxy mass distributions – determined through this method from the arcs and Einstein ring HST images – will be studied to: {i} measure the smooth mass distribution of the lens galaxies {dark and luminous mass are separated using the HST images and the stellar M/L values derived from a joint stellar-dynamical analysis of each system}; {ii} quantify statistically and individually the incidence of mass-substructure {with or without obvious luminous counter- parts such as dwarf galaxies}. Since dark-matter substructure could be more prevalent at higher redshift, both results provide a direct test of this prediction of the CDM hierarchical structure-formation model.

WFPC2 10786

Rotational state and composition of Pluto’s outer satellites

We propose an intricate set of observations aimed at discovering the rotational state of the newly discovered satellites of Pluto, S/2005 P1 and S/2005 P2. These observations will indicate if the satellites are in synchronous rotation or not. If they are not, then the observations will determine the rotational period or provide tight constraints on the amplitude. The other primary goal is to extend the wavelength coverage of the colors of the surface and allow us to constrain the surface compositions of both objects. From these data we will also be able to significantly improve the orbits of P1 and P2, improve the measurement of the bulk density of Charon, and search for albedo changes on the surface of Pluto.


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


10835 – GSacq(1,2,2) failed due to search radius limit exceeded.

At 146/11:45:35 the GSacq(1,2,2) scheduled at 11:42:44 failed due to search radius limit exceeded on FGS 2. OBAD2 showed errors of V1=3D-5.67, V2=3D-7.00, V3=3D6.58, and RSS=3D11.15.

The REacq(1,2,2) scheduled at 13:16:26 also failed due to search radius limit exceeded on FGS 2.

10836 – ACS 779 Fold Mechanism Move was Blocked

At 146/11:50:50 we begain to receive Status Buffer Messages ACS 779 (TDF was down when a fold mechanism move to the SBC position was commanded. The move is blocked and SBC MAMA HV will remain on. The MAMA HV staying on is a new feature for ACS FSW CS4.01 (installed on 6/3/05). This is the result of a GSacq failure at 11:45:35.

10837 – REacq1,2,2) failed to RGA Hold (Gyro Control)

The Target Reacquisition(1,2,2) scheduled at 147/05:55:31 – 06:03:06 failed to RGA Hold due to scan step limit exceeded error on FGS1. Pre-acquisition OBAD2 had (RSS) attitude correction value of 5.05 arcseconds.

10838 – GSAacq(1,3,3) failed to RGA Hold (Gyro Control)

GSAcq(1,3,3) scheduled at 147/07:31:09 – 07:39:14 failed to RGA Hold due to (QF1STOPF) stop flag indication on FGS1. Pre-acq OBADs showed (RSS) attitude correction values of 3061.70 and 6.85 arcseconds.

10840 – GSAcq(1,2,1) failed to RGA Hold (Gyro Control)

Upon acquisition of signal at 148/04:47:00, the GSAcq(1,2,1) scheduled at 148/04:27:44 – 04:35:49 had failed to RGA Hold due to a Search Radius Limit Exceeded Error on FGS-1. OBAD2 had (RSS) value of 18.28 arcseconds.

10842 – GSAcq(1,2,2) failed to RGA Hold (Gyro Control)

Upon acquisition of signal at 149/05:31:12, the GSAcq(1,2,2) scheduled at 149/04:28:36 – 04:36:41 had failed to RGA Hold due to (QF1STOPF) stop flag indication on FGS-1.

COMPLETED OPS REQUEST: 18094-0 – Configure the KF to use MSS and Gyro1 sensor inputs @ 145/15:59z


                        SCHEDULED      SUCCESSFUL

FGS GSacq                 26                 22

FGS REacq                 24                 22

OBAD with Maneuver        100               100


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