Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report # 4412

By SpaceRef Editor
July 31, 2007
Filed under , ,
NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report # 4412

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 25, 2007 (DOY 206)


FGS 11295

Trigonometric Calibration of the Distance Scale for Classical Novae The distance scale for classical novae is important for understanding the stellar physics of their thermonuclear runaways, their contribution to Galactic nucleosynthesis, and their use as extragalactic standard candles. Although it is known that there is a relationship between their absolute magnitudes at maximum light and their subsequent rates of decline–the well-known maximum-magnitude rate-of-decline {MMRD} relation–it is difficult to set the zero-point for the MMRD because of the very uncertain distances of Galactic novae. We propose to measure precise trigonometric parallaxes for the quiescent remnants of the four nearest classical novae. We will use the Fine Guidance Sensors, which are proven to be capable of measuring parallaxes with errors of ~0.2 mas, well below what is possible from the ground.

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 DARKs. 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.

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 11081

RR Lyrae stars in M31 Globular Clusters: How did the M31 Spiral Galaxy Form?

The pulsation properties of the RR Lyrae stars in the globular clusters of the Andromeda galaxy {M31} have the potential to provide essential insight on the first epoch of the galaxy formation and to trace the merging episodes that led to the assembly of M31. Their mean periods along with the cluster metallicities can provide an independent estimate of the M31 cluster ages and, in turn, of the time scale of the M31 halo formation, by comparison with their Milky Way counterparts. We will observe RR Lyrae stars in 6 appropriately selected globular clusters of M31 using WFPC2 to derive periods, light curves, and physical parameters of these eyewitnesses of the first epochs of the M31 formation.

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.


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

HSTARS: (None)



                              SCHEDULED      SUCCESSFUL 
FGS GSacq                     3                   3 
FGS REacq                   12                  12 
OBAD with Maneuver     30                  30 


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