Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report# 4381

By SpaceRef Editor
June 14, 2007
Filed under , ,
NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report# 4381

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 June 11, 2007 (DOY 162)


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 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 0.3< z<0.4. These observations will be combined with similar archival data of QSO1s and ground based data of Seyfert and normal galaxies. First, we will intestigate whether interactions are the most important feeding mechanism in high luminosity AGNs. This will be done in a quantitative way, comparing the asymmetry indices of QSO2 hosts with those of lower luminosity AGNs and normal galaxies. Second, we will do a detailed study of the morphology of the host galaxies of both QSO types, to determine if they are similar, or if there is an evolutionary trend from QSO2s to QSO1s. The results from this project will represent an important step in the understanding of AGN evolution, and may also introduce a substantial modification to the Unified Model.

WFPC2 11024


This calibration proposal is the Cycle 15 routine internal monitor for WFPC2, to be run weekly to monitor the health of the cameras. A variety of internal exposures are obtained in order to provide a monitor of the integrity of the CCD camera electronics in both bays {both gain 7 and gain 15 — to test stability of gains and bias levels}, a test for quantum efficiency in the CCDs, and a monitor for possible buildup of contaminants on the CCD windows. These also provide raw data for generating annual super-bias reference files for the calibration pipeline.

FGS 10928

Calibrating Cosmological Chronometers: White Dwarf Masses

We propose to use HST/FGS1R to determine White Dwarf {WD} masses. The unmatched resolving power of HST/FGS1R will be utilized to follow up four selected WD binary pairs. This high precision obtained with HST/FGS1R simply cannot be equaled by any ground based technique. This proposed effort complements that done by CoI Nelan in which a sample of WDs is being observed with HST/FGS1R. This proposal will dramatically increase the number of WDs for which dynamical mass measurements are possible, enabling a better calibration of the WD mass-radius relation, cooling curves, initial to final mass relations, and ultimately giving important clues to the star formation history of our Galaxy and the age of its disk as well as in other galaxies.

NIC1/NIC2/NIC3 11313

Special NICMOS/WFPC program to investigate effects of NICMOS internal lamp on WFPC exposures

We intend to obtain a large set of NICMOS flat-fields in parallel to WFPC observations in coming periods. This one orbit test program will investigate the effects of having the NICMOS lamps turned on during WFPC2 observations. To test this we use the brighest NICMOS internal lamp {LAMP 1} while taking a long {~1000 sec} WFPC exposure in F814W filter. An identical exposure is thereafter taken with the lamp turned off.

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.

WFPC2 11023

WFPC2 CYCLE 15 Standard Darks – part 1

This dark calibration program obtains dark frames every week in order to provide data for the ongoing calibration of the CCD dark current rate, and to monitor and characterize the evolution of hot pixels. Over an extended period these data will also provide a monitor of radiation damage to the CCDs.

WFPC2 11079

Treasury Imaging of Star Forming Regions in the Local Group: Complementing the GALEX and NOAO Surveys

We propose to use WFPC2 to image the most interesting star-forming regions in the Local Group galaxies, to resolve their young stellar populations. We will use a set of filters including F170W, which is critical to detect and characterize the most massive stars, to whose hot temperatures colors at longer wavelengths are not sensitive. WFPC2’s field of view ideally matches the typical size of the star-forming regions, and its spatial resolution allows us to measure indvidual stars, given the proximity of these galaxies. The resulting H- R diagrams will enable studies of star-formation properties in these regions, which cover largely differing metallicities {a factor of 17, compared to the factor of 4 explored so far} and characteristics. The results will further our understanding of the star-formation process, of the interplay between massive stars and environment, the properties of dust, and will provide the key to interpret integrated measurements of star-formation indicators {UV, IR, Halpha} available for several hundreds more distant galaxies. Our recent deep surveys of these galaxies with GALEX {FUV, NUV} and ground-based imaging {UBVRI, Halpha, [OIII] and [SII]} provided the identification of the most relevant SF sites. In addition to our scientific analysis, we will provide catalogs of HST photometry in 6 bands, matched corollary ground-based data, and UV, Halpha and IR integrated measurements of the associations, for comparison of integrated star-formation indices to the resolved populations. We envisage an EPO component.

WFPC2 11311

The high-amplification microlensing event OGLE-2007-BLG-224: a substellar lens in the Galactic disk or a low-mass stellar lens in the halo?

OGLE-2007-BLG-224/MOA-2007-BLG-163 is a remarkable microlensing event towards the Galactic bulge, which peaked on May 12, 2007. The light curve reached a peak magnification of ~3700, which is the highest magnification ever observed. The color and magnitude of the source indicate that it is a G-dwarf in the Galactic bulge, and source radius crossing time of t* = 8.2 minutes implies that the lens-source relative proper motion is 45 mas/yr. This indicates that the lens must either be a very nearby brown dwarf, or a halo star. The HST observations proposed here provide a very good chance to distinguish between these two possibilities and to determine the distance and mass of the lens. If it is a nearby brown dwarf, it is likely to be associated with a high-proper-motion star that is found close to the source. HST observations taken at two epochs will resolve out the geocentric and the heliocentric the proper-motions, thus providing unambiguous proof that it is a substellar lens. If the lens is a halo star, then it should be detectable as it separates from the source star over the next year. This would be the first definitive detection of a lens star in the Galatic halo and it would help to resolve the long running controversy over whether a significant fraction of the microlensing events seen towards the Magellanic Clouds are due to lens objects in the halo. Thus, it will either be the first clear proof of a substellar lens in the Galactic disk, or the first clear detection of a halo lens.


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


10860 – GSAcq (1,2,2) results in Fine Lock Back-up (1,0,1) using FGS 1 At AOS 163/01:03:45 GSAcq (1,2,2) scheduled from 163/00:31:07-00:38:26 resulted in Fine Lock Back-up (1,0,1) using FGS 1.

OBAD data unavailable due to LOS

OBAD MAP:V1 2.04, V2 -20.57, V3 13.61, RSS 24.75


                             SCHEDULED      SUCCESSFUL 
FGS GSacq                      9                     9 
FGS REacq                      5                     5 
OBAD with Maneuver            27                    27 



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.

SpaceRef staff editor.