Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #5086

By SpaceRef Editor
May 3, 2010
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Continuing to Collect World Class Science

PERIOD COVERED: 5am April 29 – 5am April 30, 2010 (DOY 119/09:00z-120/09:00z)


COS/FUV 11687

SNAPing Coronal Iron

This is a Snapshot Survey to explore two forbidden lines of highly ionized iron in late-type coronal sources. Fe XII 1349 (T~ 2 MK) and Fe XXI 1354 (T~ 10 MK) — well known to Solar Physics — have been detected in about a dozen cool stars, mainly with HST/STIS. The UV coronal forbidden lines are important because they can be observed with velocity resolution of better than 15 km/s, whereas even the state-of-the-art X-ray spectrometers on Chandra can manage only 300 km/s in the kilovolt band where lines of highly ionized iron more commonly are found. The kinematic properties of hot coronal plasmas, which are of great interest to theorists and modelers, thus only are accessible in the UV at present. The bad news is that the UV coronal forbidden lines are faint, and were captured only in very deep observations with STIS. The good news is that 3rd-generation Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, slated for installation in HST by SM4, in a mere 25 minute exposure with its G130M mode can duplicate the sensitivity of a landmark 25-orbit STIS E140M observation of AD Leo, easily the deepest such exposure of a late-type star so far. Our goal is to build up understanding of the properties of Fe XII and Fe XXI in additional objects beyond the current limited sample: how the lineshapes depend on activity, whether large scale velocity shifts can be detected, and whether the dynamical content of the lines can be inverted to map the spatial morphology of the stellar corona (as in “Doppler Imaging”). In other words, we want to bring to bear in the coronal venue all the powerful tricks of spectroscopic remote sensing, well in advance of the time that this will be possible exploiting the corona’s native X-ray radiation. The 1290-1430 band captured by side A of G130M also contains a wide range of key plasma diagnostics that form at temperatures from below 10, 000 K (neutral lines of CNO), to above 200, 000 K (semi-permitted O V 1371), including the important bright multiplets of C II at 1335 and Si IV at 1400; yielding a diagnostic gold mine for the subcoronal atmosphere. Because of the broad value of the SNAP spectra, beyond the coronal iron project, we waive the normal proprietary rights.

ACS/WFC 11715

The Luminous Galactic Cepheid RS Puppis: A Geometric Distance from its Nested Light Echoes

RS Puppis is one of the most luminous Cepheids in the Milky Way (P = 41.4 days) and an analog of the bright Cepheids used to measure extragalactic distances. An accurate distance would help anchor the zero-point of the bright end of the period-luminosity relation, but at a distance of about 2 kpc it is too far away for a trigonometric parallax with existing instrumentation.

RS Pup is unique in being surrounded by a reflection nebula, whose brightness varies as pulses of light from the Cepheid propagate outwards. Members of our team have used ground-based imaging of the nebula to derive phase lags in the light variations of individual features in the nebula, and have inferred a seemingly very precise geometric distance to the star. However, there is an unavoidable ambiguity involving the cycle counts, which was resolved by assuming that the features lie in the plane of the sky. If this assumption is incorrect, a large systematic error would be introduced into the distance measurement.

We show that polarimetric imaging using the high spatial resolution of ACS/WFC and its ability to image close to the star can resolve this ambiguity and yield a reliable geometric distance to RS Pup. We will also obtain a wide-field multicolor image of the nebula, in order to study its morphology and the mass-loss history of the Cepheid.

STIS/CC 11845

CCD Dark Monitor Part 2

Monitor the darks for the STIS CCD.

STIS/CC 11847

CCD Bias Monitor-Part 2

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 11567

Boron Abundances in Rapidly Rotating Early-B Stars

Models of rotation in early-B stars predict that rotationally driven mixing should deplete surface boron abundances during the main-sequence lifetime of many stars. However, recent work has shown that many boron depleted stars are intrinsically slow rotators for which models predict no depletion should have occurred, while observations of nitrogen in some more rapidly rotating stars show less mixing than the models predict. Boron can provide unique information on the earliest stages of mixing in B stars, but previous surveys have been biased towards narrow- lined stars because of the difficulty in measuring boron abundances in rapidly rotating stars. The two targets observed as part of our Cycle 13 SNAP program 10175, just before STIS failed, demonstrate that it is possible to make useful boron abundance measurements for early-B stars with Vsin(i) above 100 km/s. We propose to extend that survey to a large enough sample of stars to allow statistically significant tests of models of rotational mixing in early-B stars.

STIS/CCD 11852

STIS CCD Spectroscopic Flats C17

The purpose of this proposal is to obtain pixel-to-pixel lamp flat fields for the STIS CCD in spectroscopic mode.

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 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 11911

UVIS L-Flats and Geometric Distortion

Multiple pointing observations of the globular cluster Omega Centauri (NGC 5139) will be used to measure the filter-dependent low frequency flat field (L-flat) corrections and stability for a key set of 10 broadband filters used by GO programs. The selected filters are F225W, F275W, F336W, F390W, F438W, F555W, F606W, F775W, F814W and F850LP. By measuring relative changes in brightness of a star over different portions of the detector, we will determine local variations in the UVIS detector response.

The broad wavelength range covered by these observations will allow us to derive the L-flat correction for the remaining wide, medium and narrow-band UVIS filters. The same data will also be used to determine and correct the geometric distortion that affects UVIS data. The broad wavelength range covered by these observations will allow us to measure the geometric distortion dependence with wavelength and filters and to provide the most appropriate correction over the entire wavelength range provided by UVIS.

WFC3/UVIS/IR 11909

UVIS Hot Pixel Anneal

The on-orbit radiation environment of WFC3 will continually generate new hot pixels. This proposal performs the procedure required for repairing those hot pixels in the UVIS CCDs. During an anneal, the two-stage thermo-electric cooler (TEC) is turned off and the four-stage TEC is used as a heater to bring the UVIS CCDs up to ~20 deg. C. As a result of the CCD warmup, a majority of the hot pixels will be fixed; previous instruments such as WFPC2 and ACS have seen repair rates of about 80%. Internal UVIS exposures are taken before and after each anneal, to allow an assessment of the procedure’s effectiveness in WFC3, provide a check of bias, global dark current, and hot pixel levels, as well as support hysteresis (bowtie) monitoring and CDBS reference file generation. One IR dark is taken after each anneal, to provide a check of the IR detector.

ACS/WFC 11995

CCD Daily Monitor (Part 2)

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 320 orbits (20 weeks) from 1 February 2010 to 20 June 2010.


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


12259 – GSAcq(2,3,3) at 119/10:11:22z was successful. REAcqs(2,3,3) scheduled at 119/11:36:48z, 1312z, 1451z, 1633z, and 1815z all failed.

Observations affected: WFC3 111-130, proposal ID#11911.

12263 – GSAcq(1,2,1) results in fine lock backup (2,0,2) using FGS-2 @ 120/0323z

Observations Possibly affected: COS 34-38 Proposal ID#11687, ACS 115-116 Proposal ID#11995, STIS 47 Proposal ID#11845



FGS GSAcq 07 07
FGS REAcq 11 06
OBAD with Maneuver 05 05


SpaceRef staff editor.