Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #5009

By SpaceRef Editor
January 14, 2010
Filed under , ,


Continuing to Collect World Class Science

PERIOD COVERED: 5am January 8 – 5am January 11, 2010 (DOY 008/10:00z-011/10:00z)


WFC3/UVIS 12018

Ultra-Luminous X-Ray Sources in the Most Metal-Poor Galaxies

There is growing observational and theoretical evidence to suggest that Ultra-Luminous X-ray sources (ULX) form preferentially in low metallicity environments. Here we propose a survey of 27 nearby (< 30Mpc) star-forming Extremely Metal Poor Galaxies (Z<5% solar). There are almost no X-ray observations of such low abundance galaxies (3 in the Chandra archive). These are the most metal-deficient galaxies known, and a logical place to find ULX if they favor metal-poor systems. We plan to test recent population synthesis models which predict that ULX should be very numerous in metal-poor galaxies. We will also test the hypothesis that ULX form in massive young star clusters, and ask for HST time to obtain the necessary imaging data. 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 11924 WFC3/UVIS External and Internal CTE Monitor CCD detector Charge Transfer Inefficiency (CTI)-induced losses in photometry and astrometry will be measured using observations of the rich open cluster NGC6791 and with the EPER (Extended Pixel Edge Response) method using tungsten lamp flat field exposures. Although we do not expect to see CTE effects at the outset of Cycle 17, this CTE monitoring program is the first of a multi-cycle program to monitor and establish CTE-induced losses with time. We expect to measure CTE effects with a precision comparable to the ACS measurements. 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. WFC3/UVIS 11907 UVIS Cycle 17 Contamination Monitor The UV throughput of WFC3 during Cycle 17 is monitored via weekly standard star observations in a subset of key filters covering 200-600nm and F606W, F814W as controls on the red end. The data will provide a measure of throughput levels as a function of time and wavelength, allowing for detection of the presence of possible contaminants. 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). ACS/WFC3 11879 CCD Daily Monitor (Part 1) This program comprises basic tests for measuring the read noise and dark current of the ACS WFC and for tracking the growth of hot pixels. The recorded frames are used to create bias and dark reference images for science data reduction and calibration. This program will be executed four days per week (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun) for the duration of Cycle 17. To facilitate scheduling, this program is split into three proposals. This proposal covers 352 orbits (22 weeks) from 31 August 2009 to 31 January 2010. WFC3/ACS/UVIS 11877 HST Cycle 17 and Post-SM4 Optical Monitor This program is the Cycle 17 implementation of the HST Optical Monitoring Program. The 36 orbits comprising this proposal will utilize ACS (Wide Field Channel) and WFC3 (UVIS Channel) to observe stellar cluster members in parallel with multiple exposures over an orbit. Phase retrieval performed on the PSF in each image will be used to measure primarily focus, with the ability to explore apparent coma, and astigmatism changes in WFC3. The goals of this program are to: 1) monitor the overall OTA focal length for the purposes of maintaining focus within science tolerances 2) gain experience with the relative effectiveness of phase retrieval on WFC3/UVIS PSFs 3) determine focus offset between the imagers and identify any SI-specific focus behavior and dependencies If need is determined, future visits will be modified to interleave WFC3/IR channel and STIS/CCD focii measurements. 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. STIS/CCD 11844 CCD Dark Monitor Part 1 The purpose of this proposal is to monitor the darks for the STIS CCD. WFC3/ACS/IR 11840 Identifying the Host Galaxies for Optically Dark Gamma-Ray Bursts We propose to use the high spatial resolution of Chandra to obtain precise positions for a sample of Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) with no optical afterglows, where the optical light is suppressed relative to the X-ray flux. These bursts are likely to be highly obscured and may have different environments from the optically bright GRBs. Our Chandra observations will (unlike Swift XRT positions) allow for the unique identification of a host galaxy. To locate these host galaxies we will follow up our Chandra positions with deep optical and IR observations with HST. The ultimate aim is to understand any differences between the host galaxies of optically dark and bright GRBs, and how these affect the use of GRBs as tracers of starformation and galaxy evolution at high redshift. WFC3/UVIS 11786 HST Observations of Astrophysically Important Visual Binaries This is a continuation of a project begun in Cycle 7 and continued up through Cycle 14. The program consists of annual FGS or WFPC2 observations of three visual binary stars that will yield fundamental astrophysical results, once their orbits and masses are determined. In Cycle 17 we are changing WFPC2 to WFC3. Our targets are the following: (1) Procyon (P = 40.9 yr), for which our first WFPC2 images yielded an extremely accurate angular separation of the bright F star and its much fainter white-dwarf companion. Combined with ground-based astrometry of the bright star, our observation significantly revised downward the derived masses, and brought Procyon A into much better agreement with theoretical evolutionary masses for the first time. With the continued monitoring proposed here, we will obtain masses to an accuracy of better than 1%, providing a testbed for theories of both Sun-like stars and white dwarfs. (2) G 107-70, a close double white dwarf (P = 18.5 yr) that promises to add two accurate masses to the tiny handful of white-dwarf masses that are directly known from dynamical measurements. (3) Mu Cas (P = 20.8 yr), a famous nearby metal- deficient G dwarf for which accurate masses will lead to the stars’ helium contents, with cosmological implications. For all three stars, we will also be setting increasingly stringent limits on the presence of planetary-mass bodies in the systems. COS/NUV/FUV 11741 Probing Warm-Hot Intergalactic Gas at 0.5 < z < 1.3 with a Blind Survey for O VI, Ne VIII, Mg X, and Si XII Absorption Systems Currently we can only account for half of the baryons (or less) expected to be found in the nearby universe based on D/H and CMB observations. This “missing baryons problem” is one of the highest-priority challenges in observational extragalatic astronomy. Cosmological simulations suggest that the baryons are hidden in low-density, shock-heated intergalactic gas in the log T = 5 – 7 range, but intensive UV and X-ray surveys using O VI, O VII, and O VIII absorption lines have not yet confirmed this prediction. We propose to use COS to carry out a sensitive survey for Ne VIII and Mg X absorption in the spectra of nine QSOs at z(QSO) > 0.89. For the three highest-redshift QSOs, we will also search for Si XII. This survey will provide more robust constraints on the quantity of baryons in warm-hot intergalactic gas at 0.5 < z < 1.3, and the data will provide rich constraints on the metal enrichment, physical conditions, and nature of a wide variety of QSO absorbers in addition to the warm-hot systems. By comparing the results to other surveys at lower redshifts (with STIS, FUSE, and from the COS GTO programs), the project will also enable the first study of how these absorbers evolve with redshift at z < 1. By combining the program with follow-up galaxy redshift surveys, we will also push the study of galaxy-absorber relationships to higher redshifts, with an emphasis on the distribution of the WHIM with respect to the large-scale matter distribution of the universe. 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. WFC3/ACS/IR 11731 Studying Cepheid Systematics in M81: H-Band Observations The local value of the Hubble Constant remains one of the most important constraints in cosmology, but improving on the 10% accuracy of the HST Key Project is challenging. No improvements will be convincing until the metallicity dependence is well constrained and blending effects are fully understood. M81 and its dwarf companion Holmberg IX are superb laboratories for studying Cepheid systematics because they contain large numbers of bright Cepheids with a good spread in metallicity lying at a common, relatively close distance. We have identified 180 12< P< 70 day Cepheids in these two galaxies using the Large Binocular Telescope (compared to 30 in total by the KP), and will expand the sample further in 2008-2009. We will use 10 orbits with WFC3/IR to obtain H-band images of 100 Cepheids in M81 to add to the ACS/BVI calibrations we will obtain from archival data and 1 orbit with WFC3/UVIS to add B-band data for Holmberg IX. Four band BVIH photometry will allow us to flux calibrate, estimate extinction, measure metallicity effects and then check the results in detail. We can also examine blending effects on WFC3/IR data in a relatively nearby galaxy before it is applied to more distant galaxies. Our M81 sample is three times larger than the next best sample, that of NGC4258, and suffers less from blending because M81 is at half the distance, so it is an excellent laboratory for studying Cepheid systematics even if it lacks as precise a geometric distance as NGC4258. COS/NUV/FUV 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). WFC3/UVIS 11714 Snapshot Survey for Planetary Nebulae in Local Group Globular Clusters Planetary nebulae (PNe) in globular clusters (GCs) raise a number of interesting issues related to stellar and galactic evolution. The number of PNe known in Milky Way GCs, four, is surprisingly low if one assumes that all stars pass through a PN stage. However, it is likely that the remnants of stars now evolving in galactic GCs leave the AGB so slowly that any ejected nebula dissipates long before the star becomes hot enough to ionize it. Thus there should not be ANY PNe in Milky Way GCs–but there are four! It has been suggested that these Pne are the result of mergers of binary stars within GCs, i.e., that they are descendants of blue stragglers. The frequency of occurrence of PNe in external galaxies poses more questions, because it shows a range of almost an order of magnitude. I propose a SNAPshot survey aimed at discovering PNe in the GC systems of Local Group galaxies outside the Milky Way. These clusters, some of which may be much younger than their counterparts in our galaxy, might contain many more PNe than those of our own galaxy. I will use the standard technique of emission-line and continuum imaging, which easily discloses PNe. This proposal continues a WFPC2 program started in Cycle 16, but with the more powerful WFC3. As a by-product, the survey will also produce color-magnitude diagrams for numerous clusters for the first time, reaching down to the horizontal branch. COS/NUV 11705 Physical Properties of Quasar Outflows: From BALs to Mini-BALs Accretion disk outflows are important components of quasar environments. They might play a major role in facilitating accretion, regulating star formation in the host galaxies and distributing metals to the surrounding gas. They reveal themselves most conspicuously via broad absorption lines (BALs), but they appear even more frequently in other guises such as the weaker and narrower “mini-BALs.” How are these diverse outflow features related? Are mini-BALs really just “mini” versions of the BALs, or do they represent a fundamentally different type of outflow, with different degrees of ionization, column densities, mass loss rates, physical origins, etc.? We propose HST-COS spectroscopy to make the first quantitative assessment of the outflow physical conditions across the full range of weak/narrow mini-BALs to strong/broad BALs. Our strategy is to measure key diagnostic lines (SVI, OVI, CIII, SIV, PV, etc.) at 930A – 1130A (rest-frame) in a sample of 7 outflow quasars with known mini- BALs through weak BALs. We will then 1) combine the COS data with ground-based spectra of the same quasars to include more lines (CIV, SiIV) at longer wavelengths, and 2) include in our analysis a nearly identical UV/optical dataset obtained previously for a sample of quasars with strong BALs. Our study of this combined dataset will be an essential next step toward a more global understanding of quasar outflows. 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 possibility 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/ACS/UVIS 11684 The First Proper Motion Measurement for M31: Dynamics and Mass of the Local Group We will perform observations to determine the proper motion of the Andromeda galaxy M31, which has been sought for almost a century without success. While challenging, this measurement has now become possible due to the availability of existing deep ACS/WFC images of several M31 fields. The requested second epoch images will yield the average shift of the M31 stars with respect to compact galaxies in the background. Our observing strategy uses six different fields (three primary and three coordinated parallel) with two different instruments (ACS and WFC3) to provide a maximum handle on possible systematic effects. The expected result will be sufficiently accurate to: (a) discriminate between different histories for the dynamics of the Local Group; (b) constrain the mass distribution of the Local Group; (c) determine the details of the expected future merger between M31 and the Milky Way; (d) infer the past interaction history between M31 and M33; (e) constrain the internal proper motion kinematics of the M31 spheroid, outer disk, and tidal stream; and (f) obtain a pilot estimate of the M31 distance through the method of rotational parallax. WFC3/UVIS 11675 Stellar Forensics: A Post-Explosion View of the Progenitors of Core-Collapse Recent studies have used high spatial resolution HST observations of SN sites to identify the progenitors of core-collapse SNe on pre-explosion images. These studies have set constraints about the nature of massive stars and their evolution just prior to their explosion as SNe. Now, at late-times when the SNe have faded sufficiently, it is possible to return to the sites of these core-collapse SNe to search for clues about the nature of their progenitors. We request time to conduct deep, late-time, high-resolution imaging with ACS/HRC of the sites of six core-collapse SNe. In this program we aim to: 1) confirm our identifications, that were made with HST pre-explosion images, of the red supergiant progenitors of four Type IIP SNe (1999ev, 2003gd, 2004A and 2005cs), by observing if the objects identified as the progenitors are now missing; 2) place precise constraints on the progenitor of the Type Ic SN 2007gr by studying its host cluster; and 3) confirm our identification of an LBV-like outburst of an unstable WR star as belonging to the progenitor of a Type Ib-n core-collapse SN (2006jc), using broad and narrow-band imaging to search for emission line stars in its locality. The deep imaging will also allow to probe the stellar populations in the immediate vicinities of these SNe, that were previously obscured by the progenitors and the bright SNe. HST provides the unique combination of high-resolution optical imaging at very faint magnitudes that will facilitate this study. WFC3/UVIS/IR 11644 A Dynamical-Compositional Survey of the Kuiper Belt: A New Window Into the Formation of the Outer Solar System The eight planets overwhelmingly dominate the solar system by mass, but their small numbers, coupled with their stochastic pasts, make it impossible to construct a unique formation history from the dynamical or compositional characteristics of them alone. In contrast, the huge numbers of small bodies scattered throughout and even beyond the planets, while insignificant by mass, provide an almost unlimited number of probes of the statistical conditions, history, and interactions in the solar system. To date, attempts to understand the formation and evolution of the Kuiper Belt have largely been dynamical simulations where a hypothesized starting condition is evolved under the gravitational influence of the early giant planets and an attempt is made to reproduce the current observed populations. With little compositional information known for the real Kuiper Belt, the test particles in the simulation are free to have any formation location and history as long as they end at the correct point. Allowing compositional information to guide and constrain the formation, thermal, and collisional histories of these objects would add an entire new dimension to our understanding of the evolution of the outer solar system. While ground based compositional studies have hit their flux limits already with only a few objects sampled, we propose to exploit the new capabilities of WFC3 to perform the first ever large-scale dynamical-compositional study of Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) and their progeny to study the chemical, dynamical, and collisional history of the region of the giant planets. The sensitivity of the WFC3 observations will allow us to go up to two magnitudes deeper than our ground based studies, allowing us the capability of optimally selecting a target list for a large survey rather than simply taking the few objects that can be measured, as we have had to do to date. We have carefully constructed a sample of 120 objects which provides both overall breadth, for a general understanding of these objects, plus a large enough number of objects in the individual dynamical subclass to allow detailed comparison between and within these groups. These objects will likely define the core Kuiper Belt compositional sample for years to come. While we have many specific results anticipated to come from this survey, as with any project where the field is rich, our current knowledge level is low, and a new instrument suddenly appears which can exploit vastly larger segments of the population, the potential for discovery — both anticipated and not — is extraordinary. WFC3/IR 11618 WFC3 Observations of VeLLOs and the Youngest Star Forming Environments The Cores-to-Disks Spitzer Legacy team has discovered a number of extremely low luminosity sources embedded deep within nearby (< 300 pc) cores previously thought to be starless. With substellar masses, these low luminosity sources represent either the youngest low-mass protostars yet detected or the first embedded brown dwarfs. In either case, they represent a new observed class of sources referred to as VeLLOs (Very Low Luminosity Objects). We propose WFC3 F160W observations of a small sample of these sources, to be combined with deep ground-based observations at Ks, to address a broad set of issues concerning VeLLOs and the environments within which they are forming. First, the morphology of their outflow cavities will be traced, yielding estimates of the inclinations and opening angles of the cavities and the evolutionary stages of the VeLLOs. Second, our observations will reveal background stars seen through the densest regions of cores harboring these VeLLOs. The color-excesses of the background stars will yield the highest angular resolution extinction maps necessary to directly probe the inner density structure of these cores, found very soon after the onset of collapse, which would constrain the initial conditions of collapse within these isolated environments. In addition, we will construct similar maps of the dense pre-protostellar core L694-2 and the protostellar core B335. These maps will provide a snapshot of the evolution of the inner density structure of a core prior to low-mass star formation and soon thereafter, for comparison with the inner density structure of cores that have formed VeLLOs. Finally, these extinction maps will enable us to determine the core “centers”, or positions of peak column densities. Comparison of these centers with the positions of the VeLLOs may yield insight regarding potential differences between the formation of low-mass stars and brown dwarfs. WFC3/ACS/UVIS 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 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, 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.


Narrowing in on the Hubble Constant and Dark Energy

A measurement of the Hubble constant to a precision of a few percent would be a powerful aid to the investigation of the nature of dark energy and a potent “end-to end” test of the present cosmological model. In Cycle 15 we constructed a new streamlined distance ladder utilizing high-quality type Ia supernova data and observations of Cepheids with HST in the near-IR to minimize the dominant sources of systematic uncertainty in past measurements of the Hubble constant and reduce its total uncertainty to a little under 5%. Here we propose to exploit this new route to reduce the remaining uncertainty by more than 30%, translating into an equal reduction in the uncertainty of the equation of state of dark energy. We propose three sets of observations to reach this goal: a mosaic of NGC 4258 with WFC3 in F160W to triple its sample of long period Cepheids, WFC3/F160W observations of the 6 ideal SN Ia hosts to triple their samples of Cepheids, and observations of NGC 5584 the host of a new SN Ia, SN 2007af, to discover and measure its Cepheids and begin expanding the small set of SN Ia luminosity calibrations. These observations would provide the bulk of a coordinated program aimed at making the measurement of the Hubble constant one of the leading constraints on dark energy.

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.

COS/FUV 11541

COS-GTO: Cool, Warm, and Hot Gas in the Cosmic Web and in Galaxy Halos

COS G130M and G160M 20, 000 resolution observations will be obtained for 17 QSOs to study cool, warm and hot gas in the cosmic web and in galaxy halos. 5 QSOs with z from 0.177 to 0.574 and sum z = 1.68 will be observed with S/N = 40-50 per resolution element. 12 QSOs with z = 0.286 to 0.669 and sum z = 5.57 will be observed with S/N = 30-40. The observations will allow a wide range of IGM studies including determining the frequency of occurrence of the different types of absorption systems detected, along with studies of the physical conditions and elemental abundances in the different systems. Special emphasis will be given to a study of the properties of highly ionized IGM as traced by O VI, O V, O IV, N V, and C IV. The high S/N of the observations will allow a search for broad Lyman alpha absorption and weak metal line absorption that can be crucial for the evaluation of physical conditions and elemental abundances. Supporting ground based observations will allow studies of the association of the absorbers with galaxy structures along the 17 lines of sight. The overall goal of the program will be to obtain the information that will allow an assessment of the baryonic content of the IGM as revealed by UV and EUV absorption lines seen in the spectra of QSOs.

NIC1/WFC3/IR 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.

WFC3/IR 11189

Probing the Early Universe with GRBs

Cosmology is beginning to constrain the nature of the earliest stars and galaxies to form in the Universe, but direct observation of galaxies at z>6 remains highly challenging due to their scarcity, intrinsically small size, and high luminosity distance. GRB afterglows, thanks to their extreme luminosities, offer the possibility of circumventing these normal constraints by providing redshifts and spectral information which couldn’t be obtained through direct observation of the host galaxies themselves. In addition, the association of GRBs with massive stars means that they are an indicator of star formation, and that their hosts are likely responsible for a large proportion of the ionizing radiation during that era. Our collaboration is conducting a campaign to rapidly identify and study candidate very high redshift bursts, bringing to bear a network of 2, 4 and 8m telescopes with near-IR instrumentation. Swift has proven capable of detecting faint, distant GRBs, and reporting accurate positions for many bursts in near real-time. Here we propose to continue our HST program of targeting GRBs at z~6 and above. HST is crucial to this endeavor, allowing us (a) to characterize the basic properties, such as luminosity and color, and in some cases morphologies, of the hosts, which is essential to understanding these primordial galaxies and their relationship to other galaxy populations; and (b) to monitor the late time afterglows and hence compare them to lower-z bursts and test the use of GRBs as standard candles.

WFC3/IR 11108

Near Infrared Observations of a Sample of z~6.5-6.7 Galaxies

The majority of the most distant galaxies discovered to date have been found by strong Lyman alpha emission at red optical wavelengths. An accurate estimate of the star formation rates for these objects requires a measurement of the line-free UV continuum, which must be taken at infrared wavelengths. Here we propose to obtain imaging with WFC3 in the F140W filter for a sample of 9 Lyman alpha galaxies with redshifts z~6.5 up to z=6.740 from a complete, flux-limited widefield narrowband and multi-color survey conducted on the 8-m Subaru Telescope. This program will investigate galaxy morphologies and star formation for a uniform sample of the highest redshift galaxies now known.


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

HSTARS from 364:

#12159 SE PTAS review found that REAcq(1,2,1) @2009/364/22:58:31z took 2 attempts to achieve FL because of a double star.

Observations possibly affected: WFC3 #101-106 Proposal #11108



                       SCHEDULED      SUCCESSFUL
FGS GSAcq               25              25
FGS REAcq               23              23
OBAD with Maneuver      20              20


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