Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #4979

By SpaceRef Editor
November 28, 2009
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Continuing to Collect World Class Science

PERIOD COVERED: 5am November 24 – 5am November 25, 2009 (DOY 328/10:00z-329/10:00z)


ACS/WFC3 11735

The LSD Project: Dynamics, Merging and Stellar Populations of a Sample of Well- Studied LBGs at z~3

A large observational effort with the ground-based ESO/VLT telescopes allowed us to obtain deep, spatially-resolved, near-IR spectra of complete sample of 11 Lyman-Break Galaxies at z~3.1. These observations were used to obtain, for the first time, the metallicity and the dynamical properties of a sample of objects that, albeit small, is representative of the total population of the LBGs. We propose to use HST to obtain high-resolution optical and near-IR images of this sample of LBGs in order to study the broad-band morphology and the stellar light distribution of these galaxies. These images, exploiting the superior spatial resolution of HST images and the low- background : 1- will allow a precise measure of the dynamical mass from the velocity field derived with spectroscopy; 2- will permit a comparison of the distribution of star formation (from the line emission) with the underlying stellar population, and, 3- will be used to check if the complex velocity field and the multiple line-emitting regions detected in most targets can be ascribed to on-going mergers. This accurate study will shed light on a number of unsolved problems still affecting the knowledge of the LBGs.

ACS/WFC3 11882

CCD Hot Pixel Annealing

All the data for this program is acquired using internal targets (lamps) only, so all of the exposures should be taken during Earth occultation time (but not during SAA passages). This program emulates the ACS pre-flight ground calibration and post launch SMOV testing (program 8948), so that results from each epoch can be directly compared. Extended Pixel Edge Response (EPER) and First Pixel Response (FPR) data will be obtained over a range of signal levels for the Wide Field Channel (WFC). The High Resolution Channel (HRC) visits have been removed since it could not be repaired during SM4.

COS/NUV 11720

Detailed Analysis of Carbon Atmosphere White Dwarfs

We propose to obtain UV spectra for the newly discovered white dwarf stars with a carbon-dominated atmosphere. Model calculations show that these stars emit most of their light in the UV part of the electromagnetic spectrum and that an accurate determination of the flux in this region is crucial for an accurate determination of the atmospheric parameters. It will also provide a unique opportunity to test the atomic data and broadening theory in stellar conditions never met before. This will play a primordial role in our path to understand the origin of these objects as well to obtain a better understanding of the evolution of stars in general. The principal objective we hope to achieve with these observations are 1) obtain accurate surface gravity/mass for these stars, 2) constrain/determine the abundance of other elements (O, He, Mg, Ne etc.), especially oxygen, 3) verify the accuracy of the various theoretical atomic data used in the model calculations, 4) understand the origin and evolution of carbon atmosphere white dwarfs, in particular whether progenitor stars as massive as 10.5 solar masses can produce white dwarfs, rather than supernovae. We propose to observe 5 objects chosen carefully to cover the range of observed properties among carbon atmosphere white dwarfs (effective temperature, surface gravity, abundance of hydrogen/helium and magnetic field).

NIC2/WFC3/IR 11548

Infrared Imaging of Protostars in the Orion A Cloud: The Role of Environment in Star Formation We propose NICMOS and WFC3/IR 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.

STIS/CCD 11844

CCD Dark Monitor Part 1

The purpose of this proposal is to monitor the darks for the STIS CCD.

STIS/CCD 11846

CCD Bias Monitor-Part 1

The purpose of this proposal is to monitor the bias in the 1×1, 1×2, 2×1, and 2×2 bin settings at gain=1, and 1×1 at gain = 4, to build up high-S/N superbiases and track the evolution of hot columns.


Direct Age Determination of the Local Group dE Galaxies NGC 147 and NGC 185

The origin of dwarf elliptical (dE) galaxies remains a mystery and the dE galaxies of the Local Group provide the best opportunity to study this galaxy class in detail. We propose to obtain ACS photometry of main sequence turnoff stars in the M31 dE satellites NGC 147 and NGC 185. Because these galaxies have little to no stars younger than 1 Gyr, resolving the main sequence turnoff is required to directly quantify their star formation histories. NGC 147 and NGC 185 are the only two dEs for which a clean measurement is feasible with the HST. This proposal was accepted in Cycle 15, but little data were taken before the failure of ACS. The main sequence turnoffs of NGC 147 and NGC 185 are expected to be at an apparent magnitude of V=29; we request F606W/F814W imaging one half magnitude fainter than this limit (three magnitudes fainter than the deepest previous dE observations). Quantifying the ratio of old to intermediate-age stars will allow us to discriminate between competing models of dE formation. On-going Keck/DEIMOS spectroscopy of several hundred red giant stars in each of these two dE galaxies, coupled with dynamical modeling and spectral synthesis, will complement the ACS measurement by providing information on chemical abundance patterns, dark matter content and internal dynamics. The proposed ACS data will be the first to directly quantify the onset and duration of star formation episodes in dE galaxies, and will thereby form the cornerstone in what promises to be the most comprehensive study of this class of galaxies.

WFC3/IR 11696

Infrared Survey of Star Formation Across Cosmic Time

We propose to use the unique power of WFC3 slitless spectroscopy to measure the evolution of cosmic star formation from the end of the reionization epoch at z>6 to the close of the galaxy-building era at z~0.3.Pure parallel observations with the grisms have proven to be efficient for identifying line emission from galaxies across a broad range of redshifts. The G102 grism on WFC3 was designed to extend this capability to search for Ly-alpha emission from the first galaxies. Using up to 250 orbits of pure parallel WFC3 spectroscopy, we will observe about 40 deep (4-5 orbit) fields with the combination of G102 and G141, and about 20 shallow (2-3 orbit) fields with G141 alone.

Our primary science goals at the highest redshifts are: (1) Detect Lya in ~100 galaxies with z>5.6 and measure the evolution of the Lya luminosity function, independent of of cosmic variance; 2) Determine the connection between emission line selected and continuum-break selected galaxies at these high redshifts, and 3) Search for the proposed signature of neutral hydrogen absorption at re-ionization. At intermediate redshifts we will (4) Detect more than 1000 galaxies in Halpha at 0.5< z<1.8 to measure the evolution of the extinction-corrected star formation density across the peak epoch of star formation. This is over an order-of-magnitude improvement in the current statistics, from the NICMOS Parallel grism survey. (5) Trace ``cosmic downsizing" from 0.5< z<2.2; and (6) Estimate the evolution in reddening and metallicty in star-forming galaxies and measure the evolution of the Seyfert population. For hundreds of spectra we will be able to measure one or even two line pair ratios -- in particular, the Balmer decrement and [OII]/[OIII] are sensitive to gas reddening and metallicity. As a bonus, the G102 grism offers the possiblity of detecting Lya emission at z=7-8.8. To identify single-line Lya emitters, we will exploit the wide 0.8–1.9um wavelength coverage of the combined G102+G141 spectra. All [OII] and [OIII] interlopers detected in G102 will be reliably separated from true LAEs by the detection of at least one strong line in the G141 spectrum, without the need for any ancillary data. We waive all proprietary rights to our data and will make high-level data products available through the ST/ECF. WFC3/IR 11926 IR Zero Points We will measure and monitor the zeropoints through the IR filters using observations of the white dwarf standard stars, GD153, GD71 and GD191B2B and the solar analog standard star, P330E. Data will be taken monthly during Cycle 17. Observations of the star cluster, NGC 104, are made twice to check color transformations. We expect an accuracy of 2% in the wide filter zeropoints relative to the HST photometric system, and 5% in the medium- and narrow-band filters. WFC3/IR/S/C 11929 IR Dark Current Monitor Analyses of ground test data showed that dark current signals are more reliably removed from science data using darks taken with the same exposure sequences as the science data, than with a single dark current image scaled by desired exposure time. Therefore, dark current images must be collected using all sample sequences that will be used in science observations. These observations will be used to monitor changes in the dark current of the WFC3-IR channel on a day-to-day basis, and to build calibration dark current ramps for each of the sample sequences to be used by Gos in Cycle 17. For each sample sequence/array size combination, a median ramp will be created and delivered to the calibration database system (CDBS). WFC3/UVIS 11565 A Search for Astrometric Companions to Very Low-Mass, Population II Stars We propose to carry out a Snapshot search for astrometric companions in a subsample of very low-mass, halo subdwarfs identified within 120 parsecs of the Sun. These ultra-cool M subdwarfs are local representatives of the lowest-mass H burning objects from the Galactic Population II. The expected 3-4 astrometric doubles that will be discovered will be invaluable in that they will be the first systems from which gravitational masses of metal-poor stars at the bottom of the main sequence can be directly measured. WFC3/UVIS 11583 The Star Formation Rate In Nearby Elliptical Galaxies Small amounts of star formation in normal elliptical galaxies are suggested by several results: some surprisingly young ages from optical line-index dating; cooling X-ray gas; and mid-IR dust emission. Previously, it was difficult to detect low levels of star formation, but UV imaging with WFPC3 will permit us to conclusively identify individual O/B stars in nearby normal ellipticals by their UV colors and magnitudes. This technique is orders of magnitude more sensitive than previous methods, allowing detections of star formation to levels of 1E-4 Msolar/yr. Proof of concept is provided by a very long UV ACS observation of M87 that revealed many O/B stars. We propose observations of four normal ellipticals where recent star formation is likely. This will yield their star formation rates and the locations of such activity. WFC3/UVIS 11594 A WFC3 Grism Survey for Lyman Limit Absorption at z=2 We propose to conduct a spectroscopic survey of Lyman limit absorbers at redshifts 1.8 < z < 2.5, using WFC3 and the G280 grism. This proposal intends to complete an approved Cycle 15 SNAP program (10878), which was cut short due to the ACS failure. We have selected 64 quasars at 2.3 < z < 2.6 from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Spectroscopic Quasar Sample, for which no BAL signature is found at the QSO redshift and no strong metal absorption lines are present at z > 2.3 along the lines of sight. The survey has three main

observational goals. First, we will determine the redshift frequency dn/dz of the LLS over the column density range 16.0 < log(NHI) < 20.3 cm^-2. Second, we will measure the column density frequency distribution f(N) for the partial Lyman limit systems (PLLS) over the column density range 16.0 < log(NHI) < 17.5 cm^-2. Third, we will identify those sightlines which could provide a measurement of the primordial D/H ratio. By carrying out this survey, we can also help place meaningful constraints on two key quantities of cosmological relevance. First, we will estimate the amount of metals in the LLS using the f(N), and ground based observations of metal line transitions. Second, by determining f(N) of the PLLS, we can constrain the amplitude of the ionizing UV background at z~2 to a greater precision. This survey is ideal for a snapshot observing program, because the on-object integration times are all well below 30 minutes, and follow-up observations from the ground require minimal telescope time due to the QSO sample being bright. WFC3/UVIS 11905 WFC3 UVIS CCD Daily Monitor The behavior of the WFC3 UVIS CCD will be monitored daily with a set of full-frame, four-amp bias and dark frames. A smaller set of 2Kx4K subarray biases are acquired at less frequent intervals throughout the cycle to support subarray science observations. The internals from this proposal, along with those from the anneal procedure (Proposal 11909), will be used to generate the necessary superbias and superdark reference files for the calibration pipeline (CDBS). WFC3/UVIS 11908 Cycle 17: UVIS Bowtie Monitor Ground testing revealed an intermittent hysteresis type effect in the UVIS detector (both CCDs) at the level of ~1%, lasting hours to days. Initially found via an unexpected bowtie-shaped feature in flatfield ratios, subsequent lab tests on similar e2v devices have since shown that it is also present as simply an overall offset across the entire CCD, i.e., a QE offset without any discernable pattern. These lab tests have further revealed that overexposing the detector to count levels several times full well fills the traps and effectively neutralizes the bowtie. Each visit in this proposal acquires a set of three 3×3 binned internal flatfields: the first unsaturated image will be used to detect any bowtie, the second, highly exposed image will neutralize the bowtie if it is present, and the final image will allow for verification that the bowtie is gone. STIS/CCD/MA1/MA2 11866 Echelle Grating Blaze Function Zero Points We will observe the flux standard G191B2B, obtaining echelle spectra in all primary and intermediate wavelength settings. While this was done in cycle 10 (8915), the echelle blaze shift has proved to depend sensitively on side of operation, time and the exact MSM positioning. We therefore believe it is important to obtain a complete set of post- repair data at default MSM position to allow a comprehensive solution for the echelle blaze shifts on a repaired side 2. FLIGHT OPERATIONS SUMMARY: Significant Spacecraft Anomalies: (The following are preliminary reports of potential non-nominal performance that will be investigated.) HSTARS: #12102 GSAcq(1,2,1)@329/02:21:59z, REAcq(1,2,1) @03:30:17z; REAcq(1,2,1) @04:02:14z & REAcq(1,2,1) @05:06:12z all failed because FGS Sequential Attitude errors were too large to correct Observations affected: WFC3 #74-78 Proposal #11548 #12103 GSAcq(1,2,1) @329/08:22:20z and REAcq(1,2,1) @329/09:54:10z failed because FGS Sequential Attitude errors were too large to correct Observations affected: STIS #20-29, Proposal #11866 COMPLETED OPS REQUEST: (None) COMPLETED OPS NOTES: (None)

FGS GSAcq 8 6
FGS REAcq 9 5
OBAD with Maneuver 8 8

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