Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4690

By SpaceRef Editor
September 8, 2008
Filed under , ,


Continuing to collect World Class Science

PERIOD COVERED: 5am September 5 – 5am September 8, 2008 (DOY 249/0900z-252/0900z)


NIC2 11826

NICMOS Pre-/post-SM4 Photometry Test

This proposal contains the necessary exposures to re-calibrate NICMOS. We will observe all filters that are not part of the standard monitoring program with a standard 4-point (NIC1 & NIC2) and 7-point (NIC3) dither pattern.

NIC1/NIC2/NIC3 11820

NICMOS Post-SAA Calibration – CR Persistence Part 7

Internals for CR persistence

NIC2 11548

NICMOS Imaging of Protostars in the Orion A Cloud: The Role of Environment in Star Formation

We propose NICMOS observations of a sample of 252 protostars identified in the Orion A cloud with the Spitzer Space Telescope. These observations will image the scattered light escaping the protostellar envelopes, providing information on the shapes of outflow cavities, the inclinations of the protostars, and the overall morphologies of the envelopes. In addition, we ask for Spitzer time to obtain 55-95 micron spectra of 75 of the protostars. Combining these new data with existing 3.6 to 70 micron photometry and forthcoming 5-40 micron spectra measured with the Spitzer Space Telescope, we will determine the physical properties of the protostars such as envelope density, luminosity, infall rate, and outflow cavity opening angle. By examining how these properties vary with stellar density (i.e. clusters vs groups vs isolation) and the properties of the surrounding molecular cloud; we can directly measure how the surrounding environment influences protostellar evolution, and consequently, the formation of stars and planetary systems. Ultimately, this data will guide the development of a theory of protostellar evolution.

WFPC2 11500

ERO: WFPC2 Image of Eta Car

This is a WFPC2 program to be executed before SM4 but used in coordination with EROs. It will be among the last images to be taken with WFPC2.

FGS 11298

Calibrating Cosmological Chronometers: White Dwarf Masses

We propose to use HST/FGS1R to determine White Dwarf {WD} masses. The unmatched resolving power of HST/FGS1R will be utilized to follow up four selected WD binary pairs. This high precision obtained with HST/FGS1R simply cannot be equaled by any ground based technique. This proposed effort complements that done by CoI Nelan in which a sample of WDs is being observed with HST/FGS1R. This proposal will dramatically increase the number of WDs for which dynamical mass measurements are possible, enabling a better calibration of the WD mass-radius relation, cooling curves, initial to final mass relations, and ultimately giving important clues to the star formation history of our Galaxy and the age of its disk as well as in other galaxies. {This project is part of Subasavage’s PhD thesis work at Georgia State University.}

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.

FGS 11212

Filling the Period Gap for Massive Binaries

The current census of binaries among the massive O-type stars is seriously incomplete for systems in the period range from years to millennia because the radial velocity variations are too small and the angular separations too close for easy detection. Here we propose to discover binaries in this observational gap through a Faint Guidance Sensor SNAP survey of relatively bright targets listed in the Galactic O Star Catalog. Our primary goal is to determine the binary frequency among those in the cluster/association, field, and runaway groups. The results will help us assess the role of binaries in massive star formation and in the processes that lead to the ejection of massive stars from their natal clusters. The program will also lead to the identification of new, close binaries that will be targets of long term spectroscopic and high angular resolution observations to determine their masses and distances. The results will also be important for the interpretation of the spectra of suspected and newly identified binary and multiple systems.

NIC1 11205

The Effects of Multiplicity on the Evolution of Young Stellar Objects: A NICMOS Imaging Study

We propose to use NICMOS to investigate the multiplicity of young stellar objects (YSOs) in the Orion B molecular cloud. Previous observations with the Spitzer Space Telescope have revealed a remarkable star forming filament near the NGC 2068 reflection nebula. The population of YSOs associated with the filament exhibit a surprisingly wide range of circumstellar evolutionary states, from deeply embedded protostars to T Tauri accretion disks. Many of the circumstellar disks themselves show evidence for significant dust evolution, including grain growth and settling and cleared inner holes, apparently in spite of the very young age of these stars. We will estimate the binary fraction of a representative sample of objects in these various stages of evolution in order to test whether companions may play a significant role in that evolution.

WFPC2 11203

A Search for Circumstellar Disks and Planetary-Mass Companions around Brown Dwarfs in Taurus

During a 1-orbit program in Cycle 14, we used WFPC2 to obtain the first direct image of a circumstellar disk around a brown dwarf. These data have provided fundamental new constraints on the formation process of brown dwarfs and the properties of their disks. To search for additional direct detections of disks around brown dwarfs and to search for planetary-mass companions to these objects, we propose a WFPC2 survey of 32 brown dwarfs in the Taurus star-forming region.

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.

WFPC2 11156

Monitoring Active Atmospheres on Uranus and Neptune

We propose Snapshot observations of Uranus and Neptune to monitor changes in their atmospheres on time scales of weeks and months. Uranus equinox is only months away, in December 2007. Hubble Space Telescope observations during the past several years {Hammel et al. 2005, Icarus 175, 284 and references therein} have revealed strongly wavelength- dependent latitudinal structure, the presence of numerous visible-wavelength cloud features in the northern hemisphere, at least one very long-lived discrete cloud in the southern hemisphere, and in 2006 the first dark spot ever seen on Uranus. Long-term ground-based observations {Lockwood and Jerzekiewicz, 2006, Icarus 180, 442; Hammel and Lockwood 2007, Icarus 186, 291} reveal seasonal brightness changes whose origins are not well understood. Recent near- IR images of Neptune obtained using adaptive optics on the Keck Telescope, together with HST observations {Sromovsky et al. 2003, Icarus 163, 256 and references therein} which include previous Snapshot programs {GO 8634, 10170, 10534} show a general increase in activity at south temperate latitudes until 2004, when Neptune returned to a rather Voyager-like appearance. Further Snapshot observations of these two dynamic planets will elucidate the nature of long-term changes in their zonal atmospheric bands and clarify the processes of formation, evolution, and dissipation of discrete albedo features.

NIC2 11135

Extreme Makeovers: Tracing the Transformation of Massive Galaxies at z~2.5

To obtain a full spectroscopic census of the universe at z~2.5 we have conducted a near-infrared spectroscopic survey for K-selected galaxies. We found that, in contrast to the local universe, massive high-redshift galaxies span a wide range of properties, varying from (dusty) star burst to “red and dead” galaxies. This may imply that massive galaxies transform from star-forming to quiescent galaxies in the targeted redshift range. To understand whether the 9 quiescent galaxies in our sample are the progenitors of local elliptical, we are observing them in the current cycle with NIC2. For cycle 16 we propose to complete our sample of massive z~2.5 galaxies and image the remaining 10 galaxies, which all have emission lines. Based on emission-line diagnostics, 6 of these galaxies are identified as star-forming objects and 4 harbor an active galactic nucleus. The goals are to 1) determine whether star formation in massive z~2.5 galaxies takes place in disks or is triggered by merger activity, 2) derive the contribution of AGNs to the rest-frame optical emission, and 3) test whether the morphologies are consistent with the idea that the star-forming galaxies, AGNs, and quiescent galaxies represent subsequent phases of an evolutionary sequence. The combination of both programs will provide the first morphological study of a spectroscopically confirmed massive galaxy sample at z~2.5.


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


11473 – GSAcq(1,2,1) not attempted

The GSacq(1,2,1) scheduled at 251/00:16:15 was not attempted.

Observations affected: NIC Proposal 175 and 176

11475 – REAcq(1,2,1) not attempted

REacq(1,2,1) scheduled at 251/01:53:31 was not attempted.

Observations affected: NIC Proposal 177, 178 and 179

11476 – REAcq(1,2,1) fails while LOS

REACQ(1,2,1) at 13:51:48 appears to have failed but engineering recorder data is needed for determination of actual events. TERM EXP command was at 14:47:16 (before AOS time), therefore vehicle was not expected to be in fine lock at AOS.

Further information and data extracts after engineering recorder dump currently scheduled for day 251/22:41.

Observations affected: WFPC 46, proposal 11178.



                        SCHEDULED      SUCCESSFUL

FGS GSacq               26                  25
FGS REacq               14                  12
OBAD with Maneuver      80                  78


SpaceRef staff editor.