Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report # 4409

By SpaceRef Editor
July 23, 2007
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NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report # 4409

Notice: Due to the conversion of some ACS WFC or HRC observations into WFPC2, or NICMOS observations after the loss of ACS CCD science capability in January, there may be an occasional discrepancy between a proposal’s listed (and correct) instrument usage and the abstract that follows it.


– Continuing to collect World Class Science

PERIOD COVERED: UT July 20, 21 and 22, 2007 (DOY 201, 202 and 203)


NIC1/NIC2/NIC3 8794

NICMOS Post-SAA calibration – CR Persistance 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 11289

SL2S: The Strong Lensing Legacy Survey

Recent systematic surveys of strong galaxy-galaxy lenses {CLASS, SLACS, GOODS, etc.} are producing spectacular results for galaxy masses roughly below a transition mass M~10^13 Mo. The observed lens properties and their evolution up to z~0.2, consistent with numerical simulations, can be described by isothermal elliptical potentials. In contrast, modeling of giant arcs in X-ray luminous clusters {halo masses M >~10^13 Mo} favors NFW mass profiles, suggesting that dark matter halos are not significantly affected by baryon cooling. Until recently, lensing surveys were neither deep nor extended enough to probe the intermediate mass density regime, which is fundamental for understanding the assembly of structures. The CFHT Legacy Survey now covers 125 square degrees, and thus offers a large reservoir of strong lenses probing a large range of mass densities up to z~1. We have extracted a list of 150 strong lenses using the most recent CFHTLS data release via automated procedures. Following our first SNAPSHOT proposal in cycle 15, we propose to continue the Hubble follow-up targeting a larger list of 130 lensing candidates. These are intermediate mass range candidates {between galaxies and clusters} that are selected in the redshift range of 0.2-1 with no a priori X-ray selection. The HST resolution is necessary for confirming the lensing candidates, accurate modeling of the lenses, and probing the total mass concentration in galaxy groups up to z~1 with the largest unbiased sample available to date.

FGS 11210

The Architecture of Exoplanetary Systems

Are all planetary systems coplanar? Concordance cosmogony makes that prediction. It is, however, a prediction of extrasolar planetary system architecture as yet untested by direct observation for main sequence stars other than the Sun. To provide such a test, we propose to carry out FGS astrometric studies on four stars hosting seven companions. Our understanding of the planet formation process will grow as we match not only system architecture, but formed planet mass and true distance from the primary with host star characteristics for a wide variety of host stars and exoplanet masses. We propose that a series of FGS astrometric observations with demonstrated 1 millisecond of arc per-observation precision can establish the degree of coplanarity and component true masses for four extrasolar systems: HD 202206 {brown dwarf+planet}; HD 128311 {planet+planet}, HD 160691 = mu Arae {planet+planet}, and HD 222404AB = gamma Cephei {planet+star}. In each case the companion is identified as such by assuming that the minimum mass is the actual mass. For the last target, a known stellar binary system, the companion orbit is stable only if coplanar with the AB binary orbit.

WFPC2 11178

Probing Solar System History with Orbits, Masses, and Colors of Transneptunian Binaries

The recent discovery of numerous transneptunian binaries {TNBs} opens a window into dynamical conditions in the protoplanetary disk where they formed as well as the history of subsequent events which sculpted the outer Solar System and emplaced them onto their present day heliocentric orbits. To date, at least 47 TNBs have been discovered, but only about a dozen have had their mutual orbits and separate colors determined, frustrating their use to investigate numerous important scientific questions. The current shortage of data especially cripples scientific investigations requiring statistical comparisons among the ensemble characteristics. We propose to obtain sufficient astrometry and photometry of 23 TNBs to compute their mutual orbits and system masses and to determine separate primary and secondary colors, roughly tripling the sample for which this information is known, as well as extending it to include systems of two near-equal size bodies. To make the most efficient possible use of HST, we will use a Monte Carlo technique to optimally schedule our observations.

WFPC2 11084

Probing the Least Luminous Galaxies in the Local Universe

We propose to obtain deep color-magnitude data of eight new Local Group galaxies which we recently discovered: Andromeda XI, Andromeda XII, and Andromeda XIII {satellites of M31}; Canes Venatici I, Canes Venatici II, Hercules, and Leo IV {satellites of the Milky Way}; and Leo T, a new “free-floating” Local Group dwarf spheroidal with evidence for recent star formation and associated H I gas. These represent the least luminous galaxies known at *any* redshift, and are the only accessible laboratories for studying this extreme regime of galaxy formation. With deep WFPC-2 F606W and F814W pointings at their centers, we will determine whether these objects contain single or multiple age stellar populations, as well as whether these objects display a range of metallicities.

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.

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 individual 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.

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.


Star formation in extended UV disk {XUV-disk} galaxies

The Galaxy Evolution Explorer {GALEX} has discovered the existence of extended UV-disk {XUV-disk} galaxies. This class of intriguing spiral galaxies is distinguished by UV-bright regions of star formation located at extreme galactocentric radii, commonly reaching many times the optical extent of each target. XUV-disks represent a population of late-type galaxies still actively building, or significantly augmenting, their stellar disk in the outer, low-density environment. Prior to GALEX, such regions were considered to be far more stable against star formation than now realized. Our work on these targets has led to the recognition of the XUV phenomenon as probing a diverse population of galaxies which, although having certain commonality in terms of their present XUV star formation, have apparently experienced different star formation histories {as judged by their outer disk UV-optical colors and morphology}. In ordinary spirals, disk formation occurred at a much earlier epoch, making today’s XUV-disks useful templates for commonplace, high z galaxies. The diverse XUV-disks in our sample may represent snapshots of different phases in the disk building process. We seek to characterize the demographics of star forming regions occupying this environmental range, especially in contrast to their inner disk counterparts. HST imaging is needed to accurately characterize the massive stars and clusters which have, in fact, managed to form. The GALEX observations are limited by 5″ resolution. Deep ACS FUV, B, V, I, and H-alpha imaging {along with parallel WFPC2 data} will allow: {1} photometric classification of the OB star population, {2} constraint on the cluster mass function and age distribution, {3} critical accounting for possible leakage of Lyman continuum photons in a porous ISM or an IMF change, and {4} population synthesis modeling of the field SFH on Gyr timescales. We benefit from extensive archival HST observations of our target galaxies, although the outer disk has yet to be probed.

NIC3 10874

Search for Extremely Faint z>7 Galaxy Population with Cosmic Lenses

Deep UDF/NICMOS observations find a significant decrease in the number of galaxy candidates between redshift z=6 and 7, but the sample at z>7 is too small to draw conclusions. From our observations of 15 clusters we have found a number of bright z-dropouts, aided by the lensing amplification. We propose deep NICMOS observations of the best cases of cluster centers where a rare combination of a significant lensing effect and the richness in z-band dropouts in background may dramatically increase the discovery rate. The NICMOS images will reach an unprecedented depth of AB~27.8, or AB~30 in nonlensed intrinsic magnitude, and may find many faint {~0.05L*} galaxies at z=7-10, at a level that the UDF reaches for z~6 objects. We produce precision mass distribution maps from weak-lensing models, which enable us to derive the candidates’ intrinsic magnitudes and their luminosity function. The knowledge of such faint galaxy population at z>7 will facilitate the models of the IGM reionization and future JWST planning.

WFPC2 10841

A Proper Motion Search for Intermediate Mass Black Holes in Globular Clusters {2nd Epoch Observations}

Establishing the presence or absence of intermediate-mass black holes {IMBH} in globular clusters is crucial for understanding the evolution of dense stellar systems. Observationally, this search has been hampered by the low number of stars with known velocities in the central few arcseconds. This limits our knowledge of the velocity dispersion in the region where the gravitational influence of any IMBH would be felt. In Cycle 13, we successfully obtained ACS/HRC images of the centers of five carefully chosen Galactic globular clusters {GO-10401} for a new proper motion study. Although the science case was approved and the first epoch images obtained, the requested future cycle observations were not granted {due to a general policy decision based on the strong uncertainties at the time concerning the immediate future of HST}. We have now assessed the quality of the first epoch observations. The HRC resolution reveals many isolated stars in to the very center of each cluster that remained blended or unresolved in previous WFPC2 data. Given a two year baseline, we are confident that we can achieve the proper motion precision required to place strict limits on the presence of an IMBH. Therefore, we request the second-epoch, follow-up observations to GO-10401 in order to measure the proper motions of stars in our target clusters. These velocity measurements will allow us to: {i} place constraints on the mass of a central black hole in each cluster; {ii} derive the internal velocity dispersion as a function of cluster radius; {iii} verify or reject previous reports of cluster rotation; and {iv} directly measure velocity anisotropy as a function of radius. If no second epoch data are obtained then the observing time already invested in the first epoch will have been wasted.

NIC1 10797

HE0450-2958: Lonesome black hole, scantly dressed quasar or massively dust obscured host galaxy?

We propose to obtain a deep NICMOS image of the bright z=0.285 quasar HE0450-2958 that has an exceptional, undetected host galaxy, at least 6 times fainter than expected for the quasar luminosity. Several mutually exclusive explanations that were put forward in the last weeks, attempting to explain the apparently undermassive host galaxy, have important implication for their respective areas: The host could be a dust obscured ultra-luminous infrared galaxy in transition to become a quasar, HE450-2958 could have a normal host galaxy but an undermassive central black hole, or the quasar could recently have been ejected from a nearby companion galaxy in a 3-body black hole interaction or by gravitational recoil. We want to use NIC2 with the minimum-background F160W filter to obtain a >=10 times fainter limit on the host galaxy mass than is currently available with ACS, in order to set strong constraints for these very important scenarios.


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


#10904 REAcq (1,2,1) failed due to Search Radius Limit Exceeded on FGS-1. REAcq (1,2,1) was scheduled from 12:46:34-12:54:02 had failed to RGA hold (Gyro Control).

OBAD #1 & #2 data unavailable due to LOS.

OBAD MAP: V1 95.03, V2 -19.52, V3 95.87, RSS 136.39 #10905 GSAcq (2,3,2) failed due to Search Radius Limit Exceeded on FGS-2.

GSAcq (2,3,2) was scheduled from 14:14:28-14:21:49z.

OBAD #1: V1 -666.23, V2 -2175.08, V3 369.54, RSS 2304.65

OBAD #2: V1 -4.67, V2 -0.30, V3 140.71, RSS 140.79

OBAD MAP: v1 -46.66, V2 28.02, V3 -191.16, RSS 198.76 REAcq (2,3,2) scheduled from 15:47:31-15:54:52 had also failed due to search radius limit exceeded on FGS-2.

OBAD #1 & #2 unavailable due to LOS.

OBAD MAP: v1 -4.86, V2 3.12, V3 -147.87, RSS 147.98 #10907 GSAcq(2,0,2) failed.

GSAcq(2,0,2) at 201/19:01:21 failed to RGA control (gyro control) with QF2STOPF and QSTOP flags set. Vehicle had OBAD RSS error of 42.31 arcseconds. Occurred during LOS, additional info available following the next engineering recorder dump.

#10909 REAcq(1,2,1) failed to RGA control.

REAcq(1,2,1) failed at 202/1542z and received stop flag QF1STOPF on FGS 1. OBAD1 showed errors of V1=-32.18, V2=-584.13, V3=-18.99, and RSS=585.32. OBAD2 occurred during LOS.

# 10910 GSAcq(2,3,3) failed to RGA Hold (Gyro Control). GSAcq(2,3,3) scheduled at 203/04:39:21z failed to RGA Hold due to both (QF2STOPF) stop flag and (QF2SRLEX) search radius limit exceeded indication on FGS-2.

Pre-acquisition OBAD1 attitude correction value not available due to LOS. OBAD2 had (RSS) value of 13.38 arcseconds.

Post-acq OBAD/MAP at 203/04:46:40z not available in 32K F-FORMAT. #10911 OBAD Failed Identification.

OBAD1 scheduled at 203/20:18:37z failed. “OBAD Failed Identification” was received at 203/22:21:29z. OBAD2 and the GSAcq were successful.



                             SCHEDULED SUCCESSFUL 
FGS GSacq                   18            15 
FGS REacq                    26           23 
OBAD with Maneuver     88            85 


SpaceRef staff editor.