Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report # 4465

By SpaceRef Editor
October 12, 2007
Filed under , ,
NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report # 4465

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 October 10, 2007 (DOY 283)


WFPC2 10920

High-Resolution Imaging of Nearby Lyman Break Galaxy Analogs in the GALEX All-Sky Survey

We have used the ultraviolet all-sky imaging survey currently being conducted by the Galaxy Evolution Explorer {GALEX} to identify for the first time a rare population of low- redshift starbursts with properties remarkably similar to high-redshift Lyman Break Galaxies. These compact UV luminous galaxies {UVLGs} resemble Lyman Break Galaxies in terms of size, UV luminosity, star-formation rate, surface brightness, mass, metallicity, kinematics, dust content, and color. They have characteristic “ages” {stellar mass/SFR} of only a few hundred Myr. This population of galaxies is thus worthy of study in its own right and as a sample of local analogs of Lyman Break Galaxies. We propose to image a sample of the 9 nearest and brightest compact UVLGs in the near-ultraviolet, near-infrared, and H-alpha using ACS. With these images we will 1} characterize their structure and morphology, 2} look for signs of interactions and mergers, 3} investigate the distribution and propogation of star formation over varying time scales, and 4} quantify the stellar populations and star formation history, in order to determine whether a previous generation of stars formed long before the current burst. These data will perfectly complement our existing Spitzer, GALEX, and SDSS data, and will provide important information on star- formation in the present-day universe as well as shed light on the earliest major episodes of star formation in high-redshift galaxies.

FGS 11228

Extrasolar Planet XO-2b

We propose observations of the newly discovered extrasolar planet XO-2b and its twin star XO-2. When combined with the transit light curve, the FGS-derived parallax will constrain the stellar mass of the host star XO-2. From the high signal-to-noise near-IR time series resulting from NICMOS grism spectroscopy, we will refine the system parameters, in particular radii of the star and planet. From the same data, we will search for evidence of water vapor in the atmosphere via transmission spectroscopy. Differential observations with NICMOS in the spectroscopic mode will be used to search for the small spectral changes that occur during planetary transits resulting from absorption of stellar light as it passes through the planetary atmosphere. Water is an important constituent, the detection of which would provide information on Oxygen, and it has a convenient strong band well- positioned for NICMOS.

NIC1 11057

Cycle 15 NICMOS dark current, shading profile, and read noise monitoring program

The purpose of this proposal is to monitor the dark current, read noise, and shading profile for all three NICMOS detectors throughout the duration of Cycle 15. This proposal is a slightly modified version of proposal 10380 of cycle 13 and 9993 of cycle12 and is the same as Cycle 14. that we cut down some exposure time to make the observation fit within 24 orbits.

NIC1/NIC2/NIC3 8793

NICMOS Post-SAA calibration – CR Persistence Part 4

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.

NIC2 11143

NICMOS imaging of submillimeter galaxies with CO and PAH redshifts

We propose to obtain F110W and F160W imaging of 10 z~2.4 submillimeter galaxies {SMGs} whose optical redshifts have been confirmed by the detection of millimeter CO and/or mid-infrared PAH emission. With the 4000A break falling within/between the two imaging filters, we will be able to study these sources’ spatially resolved stellar populations {modulo extinction} in the rest-frame optical. SMGs’ large luminosities appear to be due largely to merger-triggered starbursts; high-resolution NICMOS imaging will help us understand the stellar masses, mass ratios, and other properties of the merger progenitors, valuable information in the effort to model the mass assembly history of the universe.

WFPC2 11039

Polarizers Closeout

Observations of standard stars and a highly polarized reflection nebula are made as a final calibration for the WFPC2 polarizers. VISFLATS are also obtained.

WFPC2 11103

A Snapshot Survey of The Most Massive Clusters of Galaxies

We propose the continuation of our highly successful SNAPshot survey of a sample of 125 very X-ray luminous clusters in the redshift range 0.3-0.7. As demonstrated by the 25 snapshots obtained so far in Cycle14 and Cycle15 these systems frequently exhibit strong gravitational lensing as well as spectacular examples of violent galaxy interactions. The proposed observations will provide important constraints on the cluster mass distributions, the physical nature of galaxy-galaxy and galaxy-gas interactions in cluster cores, and a set of optically bright, lensed galaxies for further 8-10m spectroscopy. All of our primary science goals require only the detection and characterization of high-surface-brightness features and are thus achievable even at the reduced sensitivity of WFPC2. Because of their high redshift and thus compact angular scale our target clusters are less adversely affected by the smaller field of view of WFPC2 than more nearby systems. Acknowledging the broad community interest in this sample we waive our data rights for these observations. Due to a clerical error at STScI our approved Cycle15 SNAP program was barred from execution for 3 months and only 6 observations have been performed to date – reinstating this SNAP at Cycle16 priority is of paramount importance to reach meaningful statistics.

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.)


11019 – GSAcq(2,1,2) Failed to RGA Hold (Gyro Control) Upon acquisition of signal (AOS) at 283/16:00:07, the GSAcq(2,1,2) scheduled at 283/15:48:45 – 15:56:49 had failed to RGA Hold due to a Search Radius Limit Exceeded Error on FGS-2. 486 Status Buffer (ESB) Dump completed at 283/16:04:00 showed one 486 ESB “a05” (FGS Coarse Track failed-Search Radius Limit Exceeded) was received at 283/15:53:53. Additional ESB 1805(x6)(T2G_MOVING_TARGET_DETECTED) was received. Pre-acquisition OBAD1 attitude correction value not available due to LOS. Pre-acq OBAD2 had (RSS) value of 14.58 arcseconds. Post-acq OBAD/MAP had (RSS) value of 165.35 arcseconds.




                      SCHEDULED      SUCCESSFUL 
FGS GSacq               10                 09 
FGS REacq               05                 05 
OBAD with Maneuver 30                30 


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