Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report 4426

By SpaceRef Editor
August 15, 2007
Filed under , ,
NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report 4426

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 August 14, 2007 (DOY 226)


ACS/SBC 10840

The FUV fluxes of Tauri stars in the Taurus molecular cloud Present and forthcoming ground-based and space surveys of the T Tauri stars in the Taurus molecular cloud will provide information from high energy stellar and accretion radiation to low energy solid state and molecular emission from the disk, making those stars perfect laboratories to carry out self-consistent studies of disk physics and evolution. We propose to complete this wealth of information by obtaining ACS/FUV spectra for a significant sample of Taurus T Tauri stars, covering a range of accretion properties and dust evolutionary stages. FUV fluxes carry ~ 10 – 100 more energy than X-rays into these disks and are thus crucial gas heating agents and key to disk dispersal by photoevaporation. These observations are a pre-requisite to interpret observations with Spitzer, SOFIA, Herschel, and ALMA, and will become one of the important legacies of HST to the star formation community.

ACS/SBC 10864

Mapping the Gaseous Content of Protoplanetary and Young Planetary Systems with ACS

One of the key problems in planetary system formation is understanding how rapidly, and over what time interval Jovian planets can form.  Dust in the protoplanetary disk is critical in planetesimal formation, but it is the gas which produces giant planets, and which is essential for their migration. However, compared to data on the circumstellar dust, information on the gas component is sparse, especially in the planet-formation zone. This severely limits our ability to put observational constraints on giant planet formation, except to note that the process must be largely complete by 12 Myr, given the paucity of Herbig Ae or classical T Tauri stars older than 10-12 Myr. In the FUV, photo-excited molecular hydrogen transitions have the requisite contrast to the stellar photosphere, accretion shock, and reflection nebulosity, and can be traced 50-100 AU from the exciting stars in both envelopes and outflow cavities and protoplanetary disks. Central disk cavities, an expected consequence of planet formation, larger than 0.1″ are directly detectable in HST FUV spectra, while smaller cavities may be detected by comparison with protoplanetary disks which are still accreting onto their stars. We propose augmenting existing HST coronagraphic imagery of 6 Herbig Fe and T Tauri disks with ACS Solar-Blind Channel Lyman alpha imagery and slitless spectroscopy simultaneously sampling the disk in molecular hydrogen and small-grain reflection nebulosity. These data will be used to quantify the amount of vertical stratification in these disks, to map the mass-loss geometry from the star, and to determine whether removal of molecular material preceds, lags, or is contemporary with clearing of the dust.

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.

NIC2 11219

Active Galactic Nuclei in nearby galaxies: a new view of the origin of the radio-loud radio- quiet dichotomy?

Using archival HST and Chandra observations of 34 nearby early-type galaxies {drawn from a complete radio selected sample} we have found evidence that the radio-loud/radio-quiet dichotomy is directly connected to the structure of the inner regions of their host galaxies in the following sense: [1] Radio-loud AGN are associated with galaxies with shallow cores in their light profiles [2] Radio-quiet AGN are only hosted by galaxies with steep cusps. Since the brightness profile is determined by the galaxy’s evolution, through its merger history, our results suggest that the same process sets the AGN flavour. This provides us with a novel tool to explore the co-evolution of galaxies and supermassive black holes, and it opens a new path to understand the origin of the radio-loud/radio-quiet AGN dichotomy. Currently our analysis is statistically incomplete as the brightness profile is not available for 82 of the 116 targets. Most galaxies were not observed with HST, while in some cases the study is obstructed by the presence of dust features. We here propose to perform an infrared NICMOS snapshot survey of these 82 galaxies. This will enable us to i} test the reality of the dichotomic behaviour in a substantially larger sample; ii} extend the comparison between radio-loud and radio-quiet AGN to a larger range of luminosities.

WFPC2 11128

Time Scales Of Bulge Formation In Nearby Galaxies

Traditionally, bulges are thought to fit well into galaxy formation models of hierarchical merging. However, it is now becoming well established that many bulges formed through internal, secular evolution of the disk rather than through mergers. We call these objects pseudobulges. Much is still unknown about pseudobulges, the most pressing questions being: How, exactly, do they build up their mass? How long does it take? And, how many exist? We are after an answer to these questions. If pseudobulges form and evolve over longer periods than the time between mergers, then a significant population of pseudobulges is hard to explain within current galaxy formation theories. A pseudobulge indicates that a galaxy has most likely not undergone a major merger since the formation of the disk. The ages of pseudobulges give us an estimate for the time scale of this quiescent evolution. We propose to use 24 orbits of HST time to complete UBVIH imaging on a sample of 33 nearby galaxies that we have observed with Spitzer in the mid-IR. These data will be used to measure spatially resolved stellar population parameters {mean stellar age, metallicity, and star formation history}; comparing ages to star formation rates allows us to accurately constrain the time scale of pseudobulge formation. Our sample of bulges includes both pseudo- and classical bulges, and evenly samples barred and unbarred galaxies. Most of our sample is imaged, 13 have complete UBVIH coverage; we merely ask to complete missing observations so that we may construct a uniform sample for studying bulge formation. We also wish to compare the stellar population parameters to a variety of bulge and global galaxy properties including star formation rates, dynamics, internal bulge morphology, structure from bulge-disk decompositions, and gas content. Much of this data set is already or is being assembled. This will allow us to derive methods of pseudobulge identification that can be used to accurately count pseudobulges in large surveys. Aside from our own science goals, we will present this broad set of data to the community. Thus, we waive proprietary periods for all observations.

WFPC2 11229

SEEDS: The Search for Evolution of Emission from Dust in Supernovae with HST and Spitzer

The role that massive stars play in the dust content of the Universe is extremely uncertain. It has long been hypothesized that dust can condense within the ejecta of supernovae {SNe}, however there is a frustrating discrepancy between the amounts of dust found in the early Universe, or predicted by nucleation theory, and inferred from SN observations. Our SEEDS collaboration has been carefully revisiting the observational case for dust formation by core-collapse SNe, in order to quantify their role as dust contributors in the early Universe. As dust condenses in expanding SN ejecta, it will increase in optical depth, producing three simultaneously observable phenomena: {1} increasing optical extinction; {2} infrared {IR} excesses; and {3} asymmetric blue-shifted emission lines. Our SEEDS collaboration recently reported all three phenomena occurring in SN2003gd, demonstrating the success of our observing strategy, and permitting us to derive a dust mass of up to 0.02 solar masses created in the SN.  To advance our understanding of the origin and evolution of the interstellar dust in galaxies, we propose to use HST’s WFPC2 and NICMOS instruments plus Spitzer’s photometric instruments to monitor ten recent core- collapse SNe for dust formation and, as a bonus, detect light echoes that can affect the dust mass estimates. These space-borne observations will be supplemented by ground- based spectroscopic monitoring of their optical emission line profiles. These observations would continue our 2-year HST and Spitzer monitoring of this phenomena in order to address two key questions: Do all SNe produce dust? and How much dust do they produce? As all the SN are witin 15 Mpc, each SN stands an excellent chance of detection with HST and Spitzer and of resolving potential light echoes.


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


10948 – REACQ(2,3,3) failed, scan step limit exceeded on FGS 2 REACQ(2,3,3) at 226/20:08:58 failed due to scan step limit exceeded on FGS 2.

10949 – ACS 779 Fold Mechanism Move was Blocked A series of ACS 779 Status Buffer Messages “Fold Mechanism Move Was Blocked” were received beginning at 20:17:06. This was the result of a failed REACQ(2,3,3) at 20:08:58 (HSTAR 10948) which caused the Take Data Flag to be down when the fold mechanism move to the SBC position was commanded.


18121-1 –  Patch WF2 UIDLE replacement htr set point, adjustment #4


                        SCHEDULED      SUCCESSFUL 
FGS GSacq               08                  08 
FGS REacq               06                  05 
OBAD with Maneuver      28                  28 


The 4th in-flight adjustment of the WF/PC-II replacement heater temperature control was successfully completed with the execution of Ops Request 18121-1 at 226/14:07. All activities proceeded nominally. The UIDLE dead band control range was shifted from 8.7 – 9.99 to 7.83 – 9.05 degC. The behavior of the replacement heaters under the control of UIDLE and the optical bench temperatures will continue to be monitored in real-time until such time as the new settings are functionally verified. Another Flash Report will be sent following this verification.

At 226/22:48:08 the replacement heaters were observed turning on when Bay1 fell to 7.83 degs, ~ 7 minutes later they were disables when Bay1 reached 9.05 deg as expected, functionally verifying the patches.

SpaceRef staff editor.