Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #5109

By SpaceRef Editor
June 5, 2010
Filed under , ,


Continuing to Collect World Class Science

PERIOD COVERED: 5am June 2 – 5am June 3, 2010 (DOY 153/09:00z-154/09:00z)


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

HSTARS: (None)



FGS GSAcq 7 7
FGS REAcq 9 9
OBAD with Maneuver 6 6



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.

COS/FUV 11686

The Cosmological Impact of AGN Outflows: Measuring Absolute Abundances and Kinetic Luminosities

AGN outflows are increasingly invoked as a major contributor to the formation and evolution of supermassive black holes, their host galaxies, the surrounding IGM, and cluster cooling flows. Our HST/COS proposal will determine reliable absolute chemical abundances in six AGN outflows, which influences several of the processes mentioned above. To date there is only one such determination, done by our team on Mrk 279 using 16 HST/STIS orbits and 100 ksec of FUSE time. The advent of COS and its high sensitivity allows us to choose among fainter objects at redshifts high enough to preclude the need for FUSE. This will allow us to determine the absolute abundances for six AGN (all fainter than Mrk 279) using only 40 HST COS orbits. This will put abundances studies in AGN on a firm footing, an elusive goal for the past four decades. In addition, prior FUSE observations of four of these targets indicate that it is probable that the COS observations will detect troughs from excited levels of C III. These will allow us to measure the distances of the outflows and thereby determine their kinetic luminosity, a major goal in AGN feedback research.

We will use our state of the art column density extraction methods and velocity-dependent photoionization models to determine the abundances and kinetic luminosity. Previous AGN outflow projects suffered from the constraints of deciding what science we could do using ONE of the handful of bright targets that were observable. With COS we can choose the best sample for our experiment. As an added bonus, most of the spectral range of our targets has not been observed previously, greatly increasing the discovery phase space.


COS-GTO: Great Wall Tomography

This is a program to observe several targets behind the Great Wall (GW), a typical galaxy filament in the Universe. The approach is to observe a series of targets in one area of sky to perform a “cosmic tomography” in a 10 Mpc^2 region which includes sightlines through regions of varying galaxy density from no galaxies within 3 Mpc of the sight line to a dozen or more galaxies within 3 Mpc of the sight line. The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) plus various CfA redshift surveys are nearly complete at Great Wall distances to 0.1-0.25L*, making the available galaxy survey material sufficient for this study. This program will address several science drivers, including probing the typical covering factor of warm, photoionized gas in galaxy filaments and the metallicity of such gas and how far it is spread from large and small galaxies. Preliminary studies suggest such material extends ~800 kpc from the nearest L* galaxy (even if that galaxy is not the source of the gas) and ~250 kpc from the nearest 0.1L* galaxy. (H0 assumed to be 70 km/s/Mpc)


The Stellar Halos of Dwarf Galaxies

The metal-poor stellar halo is the oldest extended structure in the Galaxy. Such halos are thought to form through hierarchical merging, and contain stars pulled from accreted subhalos. The diffuse stellar halo therefore stores information about the prop reties of the accreted galaxies (i.e., their orbits, stellar masses, and metallicities). It is therefore unsurprising that stellar halos have become a popular probe of the early epoch of galaxy formation.

Almost all current work on stellar halos has focused on massive galaxies, however. We propose to extend the work on stellar halos to much lower mass scales, by studying the halos of faint dwarf galaxies. By taking halo studies into the dwarf galaxy regime, we can probe exceptionally small mass scales for the accreted halos. At these mass scales the effects of reionization and supernova feedback have the largest impact on the galaxy population. Stellar halos of dwarf galaxies are therefore a sensitive probe of the key processes needed to resolve the lack of substructure observed at low masses.

We are requesting two far-field ACS pointings for the three closest isolated nearby dwarf irregular galaxies whose inner halos have already been mapped with the ACS Nearby Galaxy Survey Treasury. These outer fields will allow us to trace the halo out to roughly half the virial radius, further than any previous study. We will use the resulting distribution of halo stars (1) to unambiguously measure the structure of the stellar halo, with minimal contamination from the main galaxy; (2) to constrain the flattening of the stellar halo; (3) to measure the metallicity of halo stars as a function of radius; (4) to correlate any changes in halo profile with changes in metallicity. The resulting data will constrain models of halo accretion and the epoch of reionization.

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.


GHOSTS: Stellar Outskirts of Massive Spiral Galaxies

We propose to continue our highly successful GHOSTS HST survey of the resolved stellar populations of nearby, massive disk galaxies using SNAPs. These observations provide star counts and color-magnitude diagrams 2-3 magnitudes below the tip of the Red Giant Branch of the outer disk and halo of each galaxy. We will measure the metallicity distribution functions and stellar density profiles from star counts down to very low average surface brightnesses, equivalent to ~32 V-mag per square arcsec.

This proposal will substantially improve our unique sampling of galaxy outskirts. Our targets cover a range in galaxy mass, luminosity, inclination, and morphology. As a function of these galaxy properties, this survey provides: – the most extensive, systematic measurement of radial light profiles and axial ratios of the diffuse stellar halos and outer disks of spiral galaxies; – a comprehensive analysis of halo metallicity distributions as function of galaxy type and position within the galaxy; – an unprecedented study of the stellar metallicity and age distribution in the outer disk regions where the disk truncations occur; – the first comparative study of globular clusters and their field stellar populations.

We will use these fossil records of the galaxy assembly process to test halo formation models within the hierarchical galaxy formation scheme.

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.

SpaceRef staff editor.