Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4833

By SpaceRef Editor
April 15, 2009
Filed under , ,


Continuing to collect World Class Science

PERIOD COVERED: 5am April 14 – 5am April 15, 2009 (DOY


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 11978

Luminous and Dark Matter in Disk Galaxies from Strong Lensing and
Stellar Kinematics

The formation of realistic disk galaxies within the LCDM paradigm is
still an unsolved problem. Theory is only now beginning to make
predictions for how dark matter halos respond to galaxy formation and
for the properties of disk galaxies. Measuring the density profiles of
dark matter halos on galaxy scales is therefore a strong test for the
standard paradigm of galaxy formation, offering great potential for
discovery. However, from an observational point of view, the
degeneracy between the stellar and dark matter contributions to galaxy
rotation curves remains a major road block. Strong gravitational
lensing, when coupled to spatially-resolved kinematics and stellar
population models, can solve this long-standing problem.
Unfortunately, this joint methodology could not be exploited so far
due to the paucity of known edge-on spiral lenses. Exploiting the full
SDSS-DR7 archive we have identified a new sample of exactly these
systems. We propose multi-color HST imaging to confirm and measure a
sample of twenty spiral lenses, covering a range of bulge to disk
ratios. By combining dynamical lensing and stellar population
information for this unique sample we will deliver the first
statistical constraints on halos and disk properties, and a new
stringent test of disk galaxy formation theories.

WFPC2 11981

FUV Imaging Survey of Galactic Open Clusters

We propose a WFPC2 FUV imaging survey of 6 Galactic open clusters with
ages ranging from 1 Myr to 300 Myr complemented with NUV/optical
imaging of the same fields. No such survey has ever been attempted
before in the FUV at the resolution of WFPC2 (indeed, no WFPC2 FUV
images of any Galactic open cluster exist in the HST archive) and,
since WFPC2 will be retired in SM4 and none of the other HST
instruments can do FUV imaging of bright objects, this is the last
chance to do such a survey before another UV telescope is launched.
This survey will provide a new perspective on young/intermediate age
Galactic clusters and a key template for the study of star formation
at high redshift, where the intensity peak we observe in the
optical/NIR from Earth is located in the FUV in its rest frame. For
clusters still associated with an H II region, UV imaging maps the
continuum emission of the ionized gas and the radiation scattered by
background dust and, combined with optical nebular images, can be used
to determine the 3-D structure of the H II region. For all young
clusters, FUV+NUV+optical photometry can be used to study the UV
excesses of T-Tauri stars. For clusters older than ~40 Myr, the same
photometric combination is the easiest method to detect companion
white dwarfs which are invisible using only the optical and NIR. WFPC2
is also an excellent instrument to discover close companions around
bright stars and improve our knowledge of their multiplicity fraction.
Finally, for all clusters, the combination of high-spatial-resolution
UV and optical photometry can be used to simultaneously measure the
temperature, extinction, extinction law, distance, and existence of
companions (resolved and unresolved) and, thus, produce clean HR
diagrams with resolved cluster membership and much-reduced systematic


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

HSTARS: (None)
FGS GSAcq 06 06
FGS REAcq 08 08
OBAD with Maneuver 28 28

SpaceRef staff editor.