Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #5100

By SpaceRef Editor
May 21, 2010
Filed under , ,


Continuing to Collect World Class Science

PERIOD COVERED: 5am May 19 – 5am May 20, 2010 (DOY 139/09:00z-140/09:00z)


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


For DOY (136)

12284 – GSAcq(1,2,1) at 136/17:23:21z required 10 attempts to achieve CT-DV on FGS2. The acquisition was successful.



FGS GSAcq 8 8
FGS REAcq 9 9
OBAD with Maneuver 4 4



ACS/WFC 11564

Optical and Ultraviolet Photometry of Isolated Neutron Stars

We propose ultraviolet and B-band observations of 5 nearby, thermally emitting neutron stars. These data will measure the Rayleigh-Jeans tails of their spectra, providing a vital complement to X-ray spectroscopy and helping to constrain atmospheric models, working toward the ultimate goal of unraveling the physics of neutron stars. With these data we will have good-quality optical and UV data for the full sample of these objects, allowing detailed comparisons between them. Finally, the data should allow us to measure proper motions for one or two objects, and will serve as the reference data for the remaining objects; such proper motions allow ages to be determined for these objects by tracing them back to likely birth locations.

ACS/WFC 12012

Binary Formation in the Sparse Galactic Globular Cluster NGC 3201

Bright X-ray sources in globular clusters, X-ray binaries, cataclysmic variables, active binaries, and millisecond pulsars, are all binary systems or thought to be the products of such systems. Studies of X-ray sources in GCs thus probe binary formation. Most past observations have concentrated on dense GCs; these systems show clear evidence for strong dynamical formation of binaries; however, sparse clusters seem to fall off this pattern. Potential explanantions include, among others, primordial binary formation and a misunderstanding of the dynamical state of some GCs. We propose an 85 ks ACIS-S observation of NGC~3201, the nearest sparse GC unobserved by Chandra to test these explanations. We request 1 orbit of HST to discriminate CVs from ABs, and 1 hour of GBT time to search for MSPs.


Multiple Generations of Stars in Massive Galactic Globular Clusters

This is a follow-up to recent HST imaging of NGC 2808, which discovered that its main sequence is triple, with three well-separated parallel branches (Fig.~1). Along with the double MS of Omega Centauri, this challenges the long-held paradigm that globular clusters are simple, single stellar populations. The cause of this main sequence multiplicity in both clusters is likely to be differences in helium abundance, which could play a fundamental role in the understanding of stellar populations. We propose to image seven more of the most massive globular clusters, to examine their main sequences for indications of splitting.

STIS/CCD 11845

CCD Dark Monitor Part 2

Monitor the darks for the STIS CCD.

STIS/CCD 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


This program will obtain FUV-MAMA observations of the STIS internal Krypton lamp to construct an FUV flat applicable to all FUV modes.

STIS/MA2 11857

STIS Cycle 17 MAMA Dark Monitor

This proposal monitors the behavior of the dark current in each of the MAMA detectors.

The basic monitor takes two 1380s ACCUM darks each week with each detector. However, starting Oct 5, pairs are only included for weeks that the LRP has external MAMA observations planned. The weekly pairs of exposures for each detector are linked so that they are taken at opposite ends of the same SAA free interval. This pairing of exposures will make it easier to separate long and short term temporal variability from temperature dependent changes.

For both detectors, additional blocks of exposures are taken once every six months. These are groups of five 1314 s FUV-MAMA TIME-TAG darks or five 3×315 s NUV ACCUM darks distributed over a single SAA free interval. This will give more information on the brightness of the FUV MAMA dark current as a function of the amount of time that the HV has been on, and for the NUV MAMA will give a better measure of the short term temperature dependence.

WFC3/IR 11664

The WFC3 Galactic Bulge Treasury Program: Populations, Formation History, and Planets

Exploiting the full power of the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), we propose deep panchromatic imaging of four fields in the Galactic bulge. These data will enable a sensitive dissection of its stellar populations, using a new set of reddening-free photometric indices we have constructed from broad-band filters across UV, optical, and near-IR wavelengths. These indices will provide accurate temperatures and metallicities for hundreds of thousands of individual bulge stars. Proper motions of these stars derived from multi-epoch observations will allow separation of pure bulge samples from foreground disk contamination. Our catalogs of proper motions and panchromatic photometry will support a wide range of bulge studies.

Using these photometric and astrometric tools, we will reconstruct the detailed star-formation history as a function of position within the bulge, and thus differentiate between rapid- and extended-formation scenarios. We will also measure the dependence of the stellar mass function on metallicity, revealing how the characteristic mass of star formation varies with chemistry. Our sample of bulge stars with accurate metallicities will include 12 candidate hosts of extrasolar planets. Planet frequency is correlated with metallicity in the solar neighborhood; our measurements will extend this knowledge to a remote environment with a very distinct chemistry.

Our proposal also includes observations of six well-studied globular and open star clusters; these observations will serve to calibrate our photometric indices, provide empirical population templates, and transform the theoretical isochrone libraries into the WFC3 filter system. Besides enabling our own program, these products will provide powerful new tools for a host of other stellar-population investigations with HST/WFC3. We will deliver all of the products from this Treasury Program to the community in a timely fashion.

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/WFC3/UVI 11360 Star Formation in Nearby Galaxies Star formation is a fundamental astrophysical process; it controls phenomena ranging from the evolution of galaxies and nucleosynthesis to the origins of planetary systems and abodes for life. The WFC3, optimized at both UV and IR wavelengths and equipped with an extensive array of narrow-band filters, brings unique capabilities to this area of study. The WFC3 Scientific Oversight Committee (SOC) proposes an integrated program on star formation in the nearby universe which will fully exploit these new abilities. Our targets range from the well-resolved R136 in 30 Dor in the LMC (the nearest super star cluster) and M82 (the nearest starbursting galaxy) to about half a dozen other nearby galaxies that sample a wide range of star-formation rates and environments. Our program consists of broad-band multiwavelength imaging over the entire range from the UV to the near-IR, aimed at studying the ages and metallicities of stellar populations, revealing young stars that are still hidden by dust at optical wavelengths, and showing the integrated properties of star clusters. Narrow-band imaging of the same environments will allow us to measure star-formation rates, gas pressure, chemical abundances, extinction, and shock morphologies. The primary scientific issues to be addressed are: (1) What triggers star formation? (2) How do the properties of star-forming regions vary among different types of galaxies and environments of different gas densities and compositions? (3) How do these different environments affect the history of star formation? (4) Is the stellar initial mass function universal or determined by local conditions? WFC3/UVI 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 (11909), will be used to generate the necessary superbias and superdark reference files for the calibration pipeline (CDBS).

SpaceRef staff editor.