Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #5093

By SpaceRef Editor
May 11, 2010
Filed under , ,


Continuing to Collect World Class Science

PERIOD COVERED: 5am May 10 – 5am May 11, 2010 (DOY 130/09:00z-131/09:00z)


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

HSTARS: (None)



FGS GSAcq 9 9
FGS REAcq 7 7
OBAD with Maneuver 8 8



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.

ACS/WFC3 11882

CCD Hot Pixel Annealing

This program continues the monthly anneal that has taken place every four weeks for the last three cycles. We now obtain WFC biases and darks before and after the anneal in the same sequence as is done for the ACS daily monitor (now done 4 times per week). So the anneal observation supplements the monitor observation sets during the appropriate week. 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). 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. The High Resolution Channel (HRC) visits have been removed since it could not be repaired during SM4.

This program also assesses the read noise, bias structure, and amplifier cross-talk of ACS/WFC using the GAIN=1.4 A/D conversion setting. This investigation serves as a precursor to a more comprehensive study of WFC performance using GAIN=1.4.

COS/FUV 11895

FUV Detector Dark Monitor

Monitor the FUV detector dark rate by taking long science exposures without illuminating the detector. The detector dark rate and spatial distribution of counts will be compared to pre-launch and SMOV data in order to verify the nominal operation of the detector. Variations of count rate as a function of orbital position will be analyzed to find dependence of dark rate on proximity to the SAA. Dependence of dark rate as function of time will also be tracked.

COS/NUV 11537

COS-GTO: NUV Spectra of Bright Kuiper Belt Objects

NUV spectra of Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) other than Pluto have never yet been obtained. We seek to use COS’s sensitivity to determine NUV KBO reflectance slopes and to compare/contrast different KBO spectra by observing two of the brightest, 2005 FY9 and 2003 EL61, across the full NUV band. These particular KBOs are known to have some distinctive characteristics, prominently showing solid methane (2005 FY9) and water ice (2003 EL61) absorption in near-IR spectra. 2003 EL61 is also unique for its elongated shape; its rapid, 3.9-hour rotation period; and the presence of two moons.

COS/NUV 11894

NUV Detector Dark Monitor

The purpose of this proposal is to measure the NUV detector dark rate by taking long science exposures with no light on the detector. The detector dark rate and spatial distribution of counts will be compared to pre-launch and SMOV data in order to verify the nominal operation of the detector. Variations of count rate as a function of orbital position will be analyzed to find dependence of dark rate on proximity to the SAA. Dependence of dark rate as function of time will also be tracked.


How Galaxies Acquire their Gas: A Map of Multiphase Accretion and Feedback in Gaseous Galaxy Halos

We propose to address two of the biggest open questions in galaxy formation – how galaxies acquire their gas and how they return it to the IGM – with a concentrated COS survey of diffuse multiphase gas in the halos of SDSS galaxies at z = 0.15 – 0.35. Our chief science goal is to establish a basic set of observational facts about the physical state, metallicity, and kinematics of halo gas, including the sky covering fraction of hot and cold material, the metallicity of infall and outflow, and correlations with galaxy stellar mass, type, and color – all as a function of impact parameter from 10 – 150 kpc. Theory suggests that the bimodality of galaxy colors, the shape of the luminosity function, and the mass-metallicity relation are all influenced at a fundamental level by accretion and feedback, yet these gas processes are poorly understood and cannot be predicted robustly from first principles. We lack even a basic observational assessment of the multiphase gaseous content of galaxy halos on 100 kpc scales, and we do not know how these processes vary with galaxy properties. This ignorance is presently one of the key impediments to understanding galaxy formation in general. We propose to use the high-resolution gratings G130M and G160M on the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph to obtain sensitive column density measurements of a comprehensive suite of multiphase ions in the spectra of 43 z < 1 QSOs lying behind 43 galaxies selected from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. In aggregate, these sightlines will constitute a statistically sound map of the physical state and metallicity of gaseous halos, and subsets of the data with cuts on galaxy mass, color, and SFR will seek out predicted variations of gas properties with galaxy properties. Our interpretation of these data will be aided by state-of-the-art hydrodynamic simulations of accretion and feedback, in turn providing information to refine and test such models. We will also use Keck, MMT, and Magellan (as needed) to obtain optical spectra of the QSOs to measure cold gas with Mg II, and optical spectra of the galaxies to measure SFRs and to look for outflows. In addition to our other science goals, these observations will help place the Milky Way's population of multiphase, accreting High Velocity Clouds (HVCs) into a global context by identifying analogous structures around other galaxies. Our program is designed to make optimal use of the unique capabilities of COS to address our science goals and also generate a rich dataset of other absorption-line systems COS/NUV/FUV 11837 A Co-ordinated Chandra, Suzaku, HST Campaign for NGC3227 We propose a 200ksec LETGS/HRC observation of NGC3227, a bright, nearby AGN, coordinated with Suzaku monitoring and HST UV spectra. NGC3227 seems to have a distant, dusty, ‘lukewarm’ Warm Absorber (WA), AND a smaller, high ionization, WA. For these WAs an LETGS grating spectrum will determine: ionization parameter, NH, ‘b’-parameter, metal ratios and dust-specific features. The WA location will be known from Suzaku monitoring; together Chandra and Suzaku observations determine the mass loss rate. A joint HST/COS UV spectrum gives absolute metallicity and velocity and covering factor. With the WAs well characterized, NGC3227 joins two other WAs to span M BH – L/L Edd space, allowing tests of AGN-galaxy feedback models. FGS 11704 The Ages of Globular Clusters and the Population II Distance Scale Globular clusters are the oldest objects in the universe whose age can be accurately determined. The dominant error in globular cluster age determinations is the uncertain Population II distance scale. We propose to use FGS 1R to obtain parallaxes with an accuracy of 0.2 milliarcsecond for 9 main sequence stars with [Fe/H] < -1.5. This will determine the absolute magnitude of these stars with accuracies of 0.04 to 0.06mag. This data will be used to determine the distance to 24 metal-poor globular clusters using main sequence fitting. These distances (with errors of 0.05 mag) will be used to determine the ages of globular clusters using the luminosity of the subgiant branch as an age indicator. This will yield absolute ages with an accuracy of 5%, about a factor of two improvement over current estimates. Coupled with existing parallaxes for more metal-rich stars, we will be able to accurately determine the age for globular clusters over a wide range of metallicities in order to study the early formation history of the Milky Way and provide an independent estimate of the age of the universe. The Hipparcos database contains only 1 star with [Fe/H] < -1.4 and an absolute magnitude error less than 0.18 mag which is suitable for use in main sequence fitting. Previous attempts at main sequence fitting to metal-poor globular clusters have had to rely on theoretical calibrations of the color of the main sequence. Our HST parallax program will remove this source of possible systematic error and yield distances to metal-poor globular clusters which are significantly more accurate than possible with the current parallax data. The HST parallax data will have errors which are 10 times smaller than the current parallax data. Using the HST parallaxes, we will obtain main sequence fitting distances to 11 globular clusters which contain over 500 RR Lyrae stars. This will allow us to calibrate the absolute magnitude of RR Lyrae stars, a commonly used Population II distance indicator. S/C 12046 COS FUV DCE Memory Dump Whenever the FUV detector high voltage is on, count rate and current draw information is collected, monitored, and saved to DCE memory. Every 10 msec the detector samples the currents from the HV power supplies (HVIA, HVIB) and the AUX power supply (AUXI). The last 1000 samples are saved in memory, along with a histogram of the number of occurrences of each current value. In the case of a HV transient (known as a “crackle” on FUSE), where one of these currents exceeds a preset threshold for a persistence time, the HV will shut down, and the DCE memory will be dumped and examined as part of the recovery procedure. However, if the current exceeds the threshold for less than the persistence time (a “mini-crackle” in FUSE parlance), there is no way to know without dumping DCE memory. By dumping and examining the histograms regularly, we will be able to monitor any changes in the rate of “mini-crackles” and thus learn something about the state of the detector. STIS/CC 11654 UV Studies of a Core Collapse Supernova Observations of the UV spectrum of core collapse SNe hold unique information about nucleosynthesis, the mass loss history, shock physics and dust formation in the explosion on massive stars. This proposal aims at a detailed study of a bright core collapse SN, discovered by any of the many ongoing surveys, either a Type IIP, IIn or Ibc supernova. We will address the role of circumstellar interaction and mass loss through CNO lines in the UV, the nature of dust formation from UV line profiles and use the UV continuum as a diagnostic of non-thermal emission from the shock. The overall goal of our team is to achieve a better understanding of these objects by combining HST data with complementary ground-based observations. We have used HST to obtain UV spectra from the explosion to the nebular phase. Over the past decade, we have conducted studies of nearby SNe with HST, and we have published an extensive series of papers. When Nature provides a bright candidate, HST should be ready to respond. 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/MA1 11861 MAMA FUV Flats This program will obtain FUV-MAMA observations of the STIS internal Krypton lamp to construct an FUV flat applicable to all FUV modes. 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. WFC3/IR 12051 Cross Calibration of NICMOS and WFC3 in the Low-Count-Rate Regime NICMOS has played a key role in probing the deep near infrared regime for a decade. It has been the only instrument available to observe faint objects in the near infrared that are not observable from the ground. However, the calibration of NICMOS has turned out to be difficult in the low-count-rate regime. The NICMOS calibration team has extrapolated a power-law to describe the apparent non-linearity in the NICMOS detectors from measurements at ~50-5000 ADU/s to flux counts around 0.1-1 ADU/s. Precise measurements of faint objects (such as SNe Ia at high redshift) require us to reduce the uncertainties from this extrapolation. Here we propose to determine the absolute zeropoint for faint objects by cross-calibrating the WFC3 and NICMOS detectors in observations of early type galaxies at redshifts z>1.

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 11595

Turning Out the Light: A WFC3 Program to Image z>2 Damped Lyman Alpha Systems

We propose to directly image the star-forming regions of z>2 damped Lya systems (DLAs) using the WFC3/UVIS camera on the Hubble Space Telescope. In contrast to all previous attempts to detect the galaxies giving rise to high redshift DLAs, we will use a novel technique that completely removes the glare of the background quasar. Specifically, we will target quasar sightlines with multiple DLAs and use the higher redshift DLA as a “blocking filter” (via Lyman limit absorption) to eliminate all FUV emission from the quasar. This will allow us to carry out a deep search for FUV emission from the lower redshift DLA, shortward of the Lyman limit of the higher redshift absorber. The unique filter set and high spatial resolution afforded by WFC3/UVIS will then enable us to directly image the lower redshift DLA and thus estimate its size, star- formation rate and impact parameter from the QSO sightline. We propose to observe a sample of 20 sightlines, selected primarily from the SDSS database, requiring a total of 40 HST orbits. The observations will allow us to determine the first FUV luminosity function of high redshift DLA galaxies and to correlate the DLA galaxy properties with the ISM characteristics inferred from standard absorption-line analysis to significantly improve our understanding of the general DLA population.

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.

WFC3/UVIS 11912

UVIS Internal Flats

This proposal will be used to assess the stability of the flat field structure for the UVIS detector throughout the 15 months of Cycle 17. The data will be used to generate on-orbit updates for the delta-flat field reference files used in the WFC3 calibration pipeline, if significant changes in the flat structure are seen.

SpaceRef staff editor.