Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4797

By SpaceRef Editor
February 25, 2009
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Continuing to collect World Class Science

PERIOD COVERED: 5am February 23 – 5am February 24, 2009 (DOY 054/1000z-055/1000z)


WFPC2 11302

WFPC2 CYCLE 16 Standard Darks – Part III

This dark calibration program obtains dark frames every week in order to provide data for the ongoing calibration of the CCD dark current rate, and to monitor and characterize the evolution of hot pixels. Over an extended period these data will also provide a monitor of radiation damage to the CCDs.

WFPC2 11316

HST Cycle 16 & Pre-SM4 Optical Monitor

This is a continuation of the Cycle 15 & pre-SM4 Optical Monitor, 11020. Please see that proposal for a more complete description of the observing strategy. The 6 visits comprising this proposal observe two single standard stars with WFPC2/PC in order to establish overall OTA focal length for the purposes of focus maintenance. The goal of this monitoring before SM4 is to establish a best estimate of the OTA focus entering SMOV.

WFPC2 11603

A Comprehensive Study of Dust Formation in Type II Supernovae with HST, Spitzer and Gemini

The recent discovery of three extremely bright Type II SNe, (2007it, 2007oc, 2007od) gives us a unique opportunity to combine observations with HST, Spitzer and Gemini to study the little understood dust formation process in Type II SNe. Priority 1 Spitzer Cycle 5 and band 1 Gemini 2008A time has already been approved for this project. Since late-time Type II SNe are faint and tend to be in crowded fields, we need the high sensitivity and high spatial resolution of ACS/HRC and NICMOS/NIC2 for these observations. This project is motivated by the recent detection of large amounts of dust in high redshift galaxies. The dust in these high-z galaxies must come from young, massive stars so Type II SNe could be potential sources. The mechanism and the efficiency of dust condensation in Type II SN ejecta are not well understood, largely due to the lack of observational data. We plan to produce a unique dataset, combining spectroscopy and imaging in the visible, near- and mid-IR covering the key phase, 400-700 days after maximum when dust is known to form in the SN ejecta. Therefore, we are proposing for coordinated HST/NOAO observations (HST ACS/HRC, NICMOS/NIC2 & Gemini/GMOS and TReCS) which will be combined with our Spitzer Cycle 5 data to study these new bright SNe. The results of this program will place strong constraints on the formation of dust seen in young high redshift (z>5) galaxies.

WFPC2 11793

WFPC2 Cycle 16 Internal Monitor

This calibration proposal is the Cycle 15 routine internal monitor for WFPC2, to be run weekly to monitor the health of the cameras. A variety of internal exposures are obtained in order to provide a monitor of the integrity of the CCD camera electronics in both bays (both gain 7 and gain 15 — to test stability of gains and bias levels), a test for quantum efficiency in the CCDs, and a monitor for possible buildup of contaminants on the CCD windows. These also provide raw data for generating annual super-bias reference files for the calibration pipeline.

WFPC2 11956

Hubble Heritage: Side B

We propose a program of 39 orbits to observe 6 targets with WFPC2 following a successful return to science using side B electronics. These observations will be used for Hubble Heritage releases in the months leading up to servicing mission 4. Because of launch delays, our reserve of releasable images is growing dangerously slim. We are proposing here to replenish one of our important lines of communication with the public.

We have carefully chosen targets that can efficiently use single pointings of WFPC2 to obtain images of visually striking and astrophysically interesting targets. Observations will reach high S/N and will be dithered and subsampled to improve the resolution and pixel scale to near ACS/WFC3 quality at a modest cost in exposure time. Most of the observations will schedule in the interim between a return to science and the availability of new science proposals that may be selected in response to an interim call for proposals.

WFPC2 11974

High-resolution Imaging for 9 Very Bright, Spectroscopically Confirmed, Group-scale Lenses

There are large samples of strong lenses that probe small (galaxy) scale masses (e.g., SLACS, SQLS, COSMOS). There are also large samples of strong lenses that probe large (rich cluster) scale masses (e.g., various rich Abell clusters, the Hennawi et al. 2008 SDSS sample). The sample of strong lenses that probe intermediate (group/cluster-core) scale masses, however, is sparse, and so any significant additions to this sample are important. Here we present a sample of strong lenses that not only probe these intermediate scales but are also quite bright, since the sample is based almost entirely upon data from the SDSS, a relatively shallow and poor-resolution survey, at least in comparison to most other strong lens hunting grounds, such as COSMOS and CFHTLS. What we lack are the high-resolution imaging data needed to construct detailed lensing models, to probe the mass and light profiles of the lensing galaxies and their environments, and to characterize the morphologies of the lensed (source) galaxies. Only HST can provide these data, and so we are proposing here for 81 orbits of deep WFPC2 F450W, F606W and F814W imaging, for 9 of our best and brightest intermediate-scale lensing systems with known spectroscopic redshifts and with Einstein radii between 4 and 8 arcsec.

WFPC2 11986

Completing HST’s Local Volume Legacy

Nearby galaxies offer one of the few laboratories within which stellar populations can be tied to multi-wavelength observations. They are thus essential for calibrating and interpreting key astrophysical observables, such as broad-band luminosities, durations and energy input from starbursts, and timescales of UV, H-alpha, and FIR emission. The study of stellar populations in nearby galaxies requires high-resolution observations with HST, but HST’s legacy for this limited set of galaxies remains incomplete.

As a first attempt to establish this legacy, The ACS Nearby Galaxy Survey Treasury (ANGST) began observations in late 2006. ANGST was designed to carry out a uniform multi-color survey of a volume-limited sample of ~70 nearby galaxies that could be used for systematic studies of resolved stellar populations. The resulting data provide nuanced constraints on the processes which govern star formation and galaxy evolution, for a well-defined population of galaxies. All photometry for the survey has been publicly released.

However, the failure of ACS 4.5 months after ANGST began taking data led to a drastic reduction in the planned survey. The loss is two-fold. First, the goals of completeness and uniformity were greatly compromised, impacting global comparison studies. Second, the variety of observed star formation histories was reduced. Given that we have never found two galaxies with identical star formation histories, and fully sampling the population allows us to catch those few systems whose star formation rates and metallicities place the strongest constraints on key astrophysical processes.

Here we propose WFPC2 observations of all remaining galaxies within the Local Volume (D<3.5Mpc) for which current HST observations are insufficient for meaningful stellar population studies. We will use these observations for research on the star formation histories of individual galaxies and the Local Volume, detailed calibrations of star formation rate indicators, and the durations of starbursts. We will also make them publicly available through the ANGST archive to support future research. The proposed observations will finally complete a lasting legacy of HST


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


11696 – REAcq (1,0,1) scheduled at 054/10:30:59 failed to RGA control at 10:34:50. Stop flags QF1STOPF and QSTOP were received for FGS 1.

REAcq (1,0,1) at 054/12:06:52z was successful.

Observations affected: WFPC 18 – 29, Proposal ID# 11793.

11697 – GSAcq (1,2,2) scheduled from 054/13:46:40 – 13:53:54 failed to RGA Hold due to QF1STOPF and QSTOP flags on FGS-1.

Observations affected: WFPC 31 – 32, Proposal ID# 11956.

11698 – GSAcq (1,2,2) at 054/22:03:29 failed to RGA control at 22:07:28 with QF1STOPF and QSTOP flags set.

REAcq (1,2,2) at 054/23:27:42 also failed at 23:31:20.

REAcq (1,2,2) at 055/01:03:36 was successful.

Observations affected: WFPC 62 to 72, Proposal ID# 11603.



                       SCHEDULED      SUCCESSFUL

FGS GSacq               06                04
FGS REacq               09                07
OBAD with Maneuver      30                30


SpaceRef staff editor.