Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4478

By SpaceRef Editor
November 1, 2007
Filed under , ,
NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4478

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 29, 2007 (DOY 302)


ACS/SBC 10907

New Sightlines for the Study of Intergalactic Helium: A Dozen High-Confidence, UV-Bright Quasars from SDSS/GALEX

The reionization of intergalactic helium is thought to have occurred between redshifts of about 3 and 4. Detailed study of HeII Lyman-alpha absorption toward a handful quasars at 2.73.1 quasars potentially suitable for HeII studies. We have cross-correlated SDSS quasars with GALEX UV sources to obtain a dozen new, very high-confidence, candidate quasars/sightlines {z=3.1 to 4.1} potentially useful for detailed HeII studies even with current HST instruments. We propose brief, 2-orbit per target, reconnaissance spectral exposures with the ACS SBC prism to definitively verify UV flux down to the HeII break. Our combined SDSS/GALEX selection insures a very high-yield of confirmations, as the quasars are already known to be UV-bright from broadband GALEX images. The additional sightlines, extending to very high-redshift, will directly enable ensemble spectral stacks, as well as long exposure follow-up spectra, at high S/N with the ACS/SBC ultraviolet prisms {or perhaps STIS or COS later}, to confidently measure the spectrum and evolution of the ionizing background radiation, the evolution of HeII opacity, and the density of intergalactic baryons.

FGS 11213

Distances to Eclipsing M Dwarf Binaries

We propose HST FGS observations to measure accurate distances of 5 nearby M dwarf eclipsing binary systems, from which model-independent luminosities can be calculated. These objects have either poor or no existing parallax measurements. FGS parallax determinations for these systems, with their existing dynamic masses determined to better than 0.5%, would serve as model-independent anchor points for the low-mass end of the mass-luminosity diagram.

NIC1/NIC2/NIC3 11330

NICMOS Cycle 16 Extended Dark

This takes a series of Darks in parallel to other instruments.

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.

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.

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.

WFPC2 11119

The Stellar Origins of Supernovae

Supernovae {SNe} have a profound effect on galaxies, and have been used recently as precise cosmological probes, resulting in the discovery of the accelerating Universe. They are clearly very important events deserving of intense study. Yet, even with nearly 4000 known SNe, we know relatively little about the stars which give rise to these powerful explosions. The main limitation has been the lack of spatial resolution in pre-SN imaging data. However, since 1999 our team has been at the vanguard of directly identifying SN progenitor stars in HST images. From this exciting new line of study, the emerging trend from 5 detections for Type II-Plateau SNe is that their progenitors appear to be relatively low mass {8 to 20 Msun} red supergiants, although more cases are needed. Nonetheless, the nature of the progenitors of Type Ib/c SNe, a subset of which are associated with the amazing gamma-ray bursts, remains ambiguous. Furthermore, we remain in the continually embarrassing situation that we still do not yet know which progenitor systems explode as Type Ia SNe, which are currently being used for precision cosmology. We propose to confirm the identities of the progenitors of 4 SNe within 17 Mpc, which we expect to occur during Cycle 16, through ToO observations using WFPC2/PC.


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

HSTARS: (None)



                              SCHEDULED      SUCCESSFUL 
FGS GSacq                       8               8 
FGS REacq                       5               5 
OBAD with Maneuver       24              24 


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