Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report # 4593

By SpaceRef Editor
April 22, 2008
Filed under , ,
NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report # 4593


Continuing to collect World Class Science

PERIOD COVERED: UT April 18,19,20, 2008 (DOY 109,110,111)


NIC1/NIC2/NIC3 8795

NICMOS Post-SAA calibration – CR Persistence Part 6

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 11235

HST NICMOS Survey of the Nuclear Regions of Luminous Infrared Galaxies in the Local Universe

At luminosities above 10^11.4 L_sun, the space density of far-infrared selected galaxies exceeds that of optically selected galaxies. These `luminous infrared galaxies’ {LIRGs} are primarily interacting or merging disk galaxies undergoing enhanced star formation and Active Galactic Nuclei {AGN} activity, possibly triggered as the objects transform into massive S0 and elliptical merger remnants. We propose NICMOS NIC2 imaging of the nuclear regions of a complete sample of 88 L_IR > 10^11.4 L_sun luminous infrared galaxies in the IRAS Revised Bright Galaxy Sample {RBGS: i.e., 60 micron flux density > 5.24 Jy}. This sample is ideal not only in its completeness and sample size, but also in the proximity and brightness of the galaxies. The superb sensitivity and resolution of NICMOS NIC2 on HST enables a unique opportunity to study the detailed structure of the nuclear regions, where dust obscuration may mask star clusters, AGN and additional nuclei from optical view, with a resolution significantly higher than possible with Spitzer IRAC. This survey thus provides a crucial component to our study of the dynamics and evolution of IR galaxies presently underway with Wide-Field, HST ACS/WFC and Spitzer IRAC observations of these 88 galaxies. Imaging will be done with the F160W filter {H-band} to examine as a function of both luminosity and merger stage {i} the luminosity and distribution of embedded star clusters, {ii} the presence of optically obscured AGN and nuclei, {iii} the correlation between the distribution of 1.6 micron emission and the mid- IR emission as detected by Spitzer IRAC, {iv} the evidence of bars or bridges that may funnel fuel into the nuclear region, and {v} the ages of star clusters for which photometry is available via ACS/WFC observations. The NICMOS data, combined with the HST ACS, Spitzer, and GALEX observations of this sample, will result in the most comprehensive study of merging and interacting galaxies to date.

WFPC2 11222

Direct Detection and Mapping of Star Forming Regions in Nearby, Luminous Quasars

We propose to carry out narrow-band emission line imaging observations of 8 quasars at z=0.05-0.15 with the WFPC2 ramp filters and with the NICMOS narrow-band filters. We will obtain images in the [O II], [O III], H-beta, and Pa-alpha emission line bands to carry out a series of diagnostic tests aimed at detecting and mapping out star-forming regions in the quasar host galaxies. This direct detection of star-forming regions will confirm indirect indications for star formation in quasar host galaxies. It will provide a crucial test for models of quasar and galaxy evolution, that predict the co-existence of starbursts and “monsters” and will solve the puzzle of why different indicators of star formation give contradictory results. A secondary science goal is to assess suggested correlations between quasar luminosity and the size of the narrow-line region.

WEPC2 11196

An Ultraviolet Survey of Luminous Infrared Galaxies in the Local Universe

At luminosities above 10^11.4 L_sun, the space density of far-infrared selected galaxies exceeds that of optically selected galaxies. These Luminous Infrared Galaxies {LIRGs} are primarily interacting or merging disk galaxies undergoing starbursts and creating/fueling central AGN. We propose far {ACS/SBC/F140LP} and near {WFPC2/PC/F218W} UV imaging of a sample of 27 galaxies drawn from the complete IRAS Revised Bright Galaxy Sample {RBGS} LIRGs sample and known, from our Cycle 14 B and I-band ACS imaging observations, to have significant numbers of bright {23 < B < 21 mag} star clusters in the central 30 arcsec. The HST UV data will be combined with previously obtained HST, Spitzer, and GALEX images to {i} calculate the ages of the clusters as function of merger stage, {ii} measure the amount of UV light in massive star clusters relative to diffuse regions of star formation, {iii} assess the feasibility of using the UV slope to predict the far-IR luminosity {and thus the star formation rate} both among and within IR-luminous galaxies, and {iv} provide a much needed catalog of rest- frame UV morphologies for comparison with rest-frame UV images of high-z LIRGs and Lyman Break Galaxies. These observations will achieve the resolution required to perform both detailed photometry of compact structures and spatial correlations between UV and redder wavelengths for a physical interpretation our IRX-Beta results. The HST UV data, combined with the HST ACS, Spitzer, Chandra, and GALEX observations of this sample, will result in the most comprehensive study of luminous starburst galaxies to date.

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.

NIC2/WFPC2 11142

Revealing the Physical Nature of Infrared Luminous Galaxies at 0.3

We aim to determine physical properties of IR luminous galaxies at 0.3 0.8mJy and their mid-IR spectra have already provided the majority

targets with spectroscopic redshifts {0.31 ULIRGs, as in the local Universe. {2} study the co-evolution of star formation and blackhole accretion by investigating the relations between the fraction of starburst/AGN measured from mid-IR spectra vs. HST morphologies, L{bol} and z. {3} obtain the current best estimates of the far-IR emission, thus L{bol} for this sample, and establish if the relative contribution of mid-to-far IR dust emission is correlated with morphology {resolved vs. unresolved}.

WFPC2 11130

AGNs with Intermediate-mass Black Holes: Testing the Black Hole-Bulge Paradigm, Part II

The recent progress in the study of central black holes in galactic nuclei has led to a general consensus that supermassive {10^6-10^9 solar mass} black holes are closely connected with the formation and evolutionary history of large galaxies, especially their bulge component. Two outstanding issues, however, remain unresolved. Can central black holes form in the absence of a bulge? And does the mass function of central black holes extend below 10^6 solar masses? Intermediate-mass black holes {<10^6 solar masses}, if they exist, may offer important clues to the nature of the seeds of supermassive black holes. Using the SDSS, our group has successfully uncovered a new population of AGNs with intermediate-mass black holes that reside in low-luminosity galaxies. However, very little is known about the detailed morphologies or structural parameters of the host galaxies themselves, including the crucial question of whether they have bulges or not. Surprisingly, the majority of the targets of our Cycle 14 pilot program have structural properties similar to dwarf elliptical galaxies. The statistics from this initial study, however, are really too sparse to reach definitive conclusions on this important new class of black holes. We wish to extend this study to a larger sample, by using the Snapshot mode to obtain WFPC2 F814W images from a parent sample of 175 AGNs with intermediate- mass black holes selected from our final SDSS search. We are particularly keen to determine whether the hosts contain bulges, and if so, how the fundamental plane properties of the host depend on the mass of their central black holes. We will also investigate the environment of this unique class of AGNs.

NIC3 11120

A Paschen-Alpha Study of Massive Stars and the ISM in the Galactic Center

The Galactic center (GC) is a unique site for a detailed study of a multitude of complex astrophysical phenomena, which may be common to nuclear regions of many galaxies. Observable at resolutions unapproachable in other galaxies, the GC provides an unparalleled opportunity to improve our understanding of the interrelationships of massive stars, young stellar clusters, warm and hot ionized gases, molecular clouds, large scale magnetic fields, and black holes. We propose the first large-scale hydrogen Paschen alpha line survey of the GC using NICMOS on the Hubble Space Telescope. This survey will lead to a high resolution and high sensitivity map of the Paschen alpha line emission in addition to a map of foreground extinction, made by comparing Paschen alpha to radio emission. This survey of the inner 75 pc of the Galaxy will provide an unprecedented and complete search for sites of massive star formation. In particular, we will be able to (1) uncover the distribution of young massive stars in this region, (2) locate the surfaces of adjacent molecular clouds, (3) determine important physical parameters of the ionized gas, (4) identify compact and ultra-compact HII regions throughout the GC. When combined with existing Chandra and Spitzer surveys as well as a wealth of other multi-wavelength observations, the results will allow us to address such questions as where and how massive stars form, how stellar clusters are disrupted, how massive stars shape and heat the surrounding medium, and how various phases of this medium are interspersed.

WFPC2 11113

Binaries in the Kuiper Belt: Probes of Solar System Formation and Evolution

The discovery of binaries in the Kuiper Belt and related small body populations is powering a revolutionary step forward in the study of this remote region. Three quarters of the known binaries in the Kuiper Belt have been discovered with HST, most by our snapshot surveys. The statistics derived from this work are beginning to yield surprising and unexpected results. We have found a strong concentration of binaries among low-inclination Classicals, a possible size cutoff to binaries among the Centaurs, an apparent preference for nearly equal mass binaries, and a strong increase in the number of binaries at small separations. We propose to continue this successful program in Cycle 16; we expect to discover at least 13 new binary systems, targeted to subgroups where these discoveries can have the greatest impact.

WFPC2 11020

Cycle 15 Focus Monitor

The focus of HST is measured primarily with ACS/HRC over full CVZ orbits to obtain accurate mean focus values via a well sampled breathing curve. Coma and astigmatism are also determined from the same data in order to further understand orbital effects on image quality and optical alignments. To monitor the stability of ACS to WFPC2 relative focii, we’ve carried over from previous focus monitor programs parallel observations taken with the two cameras at suitable orientations of previously observed targets, and interspersed them with the HRC CVZ visits.


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


11260 – GSAcq (2,1,1) failed to RGA Hold (Gyro Control)

At 109/21:48:42 GSAcq (2,1,1) scheduled from 21:44:02 – 21:51:48 failed to RGA Hold (Gyro Control). Pre-acquisition OBADs showed an RSS value of 1202.09 and 5.15 arc seconds respectively. Received one 486 STB ESB message a07 (FGS Coarse Track failed – Timed out waiting for data valid). FGS1 enteredCourse Track 11 times, but was not able to achieve Course Track-Data Valid.

11261 – GSacq(1,2,2) failed to RGA control.

GSacq(1,2,2) scheduled at 111/22:13:12 failed to RGA control at 22:15:48. There were no flags. RSS value for OBAD1 was 3120.29 a-s. RSS value for OBAD2 was 3.94 a-s.



                       SCHEDULED      SUCCESSFUL

FGS GSacq               35                  33
FGS REacq               07                  07
OBAD with Maneuver      84                  84


SpaceRef staff editor.