Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4701

By SpaceRef Editor
September 23, 2008
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Continuing to collect World Class Science

PERIOD COVERED: 5am September 22 – 5am September 23, 2008 (DOY 266/0900z-267/0900z)


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.

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 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.

WFPC2 11167

A Unique High Resolution Window to Two Strongly Lensed Lyman Break Galaxies

On rare occasions, the otherwise very faint Lyman Break Galaxies {LBGs} are magnified by gravitational lensing to provide exceptional targets for detailed spectroscopic and imaging studies. We propose HST WFPC2 and NICMOS imaging of two strongly lensed Lyman Break Galaxies {LBGs} that were recently discovered by members of our team. These two LBGs — the “8 O’Clock Arc” and the “SDSS J1206+5142 Arc” — are currently the brightest known LBGs, roughly 3 times brighter than the former record-holder, MS1512-cB58 {a.k.a. “cB58”}. The z=2.73 “8 O’Clock Arc” extends ~10 arcsec in length and is magnified by a factor of 12. The z=2.00 “SDSS J1206+5142 Arc” also extends ~10 arcsec in length and is magnified by a factor of 30. Due to their brightness and magnification, these two strongly lensed LBGs offer an unprecedented opportunity for the very detailed investigation of two individual galaxies at high redshift. We are currently pursuing a vigorous ground-based campaign to obtain multi- wavelength {UV, optical, NIR, radio} observations of these two LBGs, but our campaign currently lacks a means of obtaining high-resolution optical/NIR imaging — a lack that currently only HST can address. Our prime objective for this proposal is to obtain high resolution HST images of these two systems with two-orbit WFPC2 images in the BVI bands and two-orbit NICMOS/NIC2 images in the J and H bands. These data will allow us to construct detailed lensing models, probe the mass and light profiles of the lenses and their environments, and constrain the star formation histories and rest-frame UV/optical spectral energy distributions of the LBGs.

WFPC2 11796

WFPC2 Cycle 16 Decontaminations and Associated Observations

This proposal is for the WFPC2 decons. Also included are instrument monitors tied to decons: photometric stability check, focus monitor, pre- and post-decon internals (bias, intflats, kspots, & darks), UV throughput check, VISFLAT sweep, and internal UV flat check.


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

HSTARS: (None)


#18292-0 Disable NICMOS Filter Wheel Commanding @ 266/1605z


                         SCHEDULED      SUCCESSFUL
FGS GSacq                     09             09
FGS REacq                     03             03
OBAD with Maneuver            24             24


NICMOS Filter Wheel Commanding Inhibit Patches Successful Executed

At 12:47pm on 9/22/8, OR #18292-0 was successfully executed. To prevent possible mechanical interference due to thermal stresses as the NICMOS dewar warms, filter wheel commanding was inhibited to ensure the wheels are not inadvertently moved once NICMOS is fully recovered. This was accomplished by setting a flag in the NICMOS CS FSW.

SpaceRef staff editor.