Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #5132

By SpaceRef Editor
July 8, 2010
Filed under , ,


Continuing to Collect World Class Science

PERIOD COVERED: 5am July 6 – 5am July 7, 2010 (DOY 187/09:00z-188/09:00z)


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

HSTARS: (None)



FGS GSAcq 3 3
FGS REAcq 11 11
OBAD with Maneuver 3 3




Probing the Outer Regions of M31 with QSO Absorption Lines

We propose HST-COS spectroscopy of 10 quasars behind M31. Absorption lines due to MgII, FeII, CIV, and a variety of other lines will be searched for and measured. Six quasars lie between 1 and 4.2 Holmberg radii near the major axis on the southwest side, where confusion with Milky Way gas is minimized. Two lie even farther out on the southwest side of the major axis. One lies within 1 Holmberg radius. Two of the 10 pass through M31’s high velocity clouds seen in a detailed 21 cm emission map. Exposure time estimates were based on SDSS magnitudes and available GALEX magnitudes. Thus, using the most well-studied external spiral galaxy in the sky, our observations will permit us to check, better than ever before, the standard picture that quasar metal-line absorption systems such as MgII and CIV arise in an extended gaseous halo/disk of a galaxy well beyond its observable optical radius. The observations will yield insights into the nature of the gas and its connection to the very extended stellar components of M31 that have recently been studied. Notably the observations have the potential of extending M31’s rotation curve to very large galactocentric distances, thereby placing new constrants on M31’s dark matter halo.

Finally, we also request that the coordinated parallel orbits be allocated to this program so that we may image the resolved stellar content of M31’s halo and outer disk.

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.

WFC3/ACS/IR 11235

HST NICMOS Survey of the Nuclear Regions of Luminous Infrared Galaxies in the Local Universe

At luminosities above 10^11.4 L_sun, the space density of far-infrared selected galaxies exceeds that of optically selected galaxies. These `luminous infrared galaxies’ (LIRGs) are primarily interacting or merging disk galaxies undergoing enhanced star formation and Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) activity, possibly triggered as the objects transform into massive S0 and elliptical merger remnants. We propose NICMOS NIC2 imaging of the nuclear regions of a complete sample of 88 L_IR > 10^11.4 L_sun luminous infrared galaxies in the IRAS Revised Bright Galaxy Sample (RBGS: i.e., 60 micron flux density > 5.24 Jy). This sample is ideal not only in its completeness and sample size, but also in the proximity and brightness of the galaxies. The superb sensitivity and resolution of NICMOS NIC2 on HST enables a unique opportunity to study the detailed structure of the nuclear regions, where dust obscuration may mask star clusters, AGN, and additional nuclei from optical view, with a resolution significantly higher than possible with Spitzer IRAC. This survey thus provides a crucial component to our study of the dynamics and evolution of IR galaxies presently underway with Wide-Field, HST ACS/WFC3, and Spitzer IRAC observations of these 88 galaxies. Imaging will be done with the F160W filter (H-band) to examine as a function of both luminosity and merger stage: (i) the luminosity and distribution of embedded star clusters, (ii) the presence of optically obscured AGN and nuclei, (iii) the correlation between the distribution of 1.6 micron emission and the mid-IR emission as detected by Spitzer IRAC, (iv) the evidence of bars or bridges that may funnel fuel into the nuclear region, and (v) the ages of star clusters for which photometry is available via ACS/WFC3 observations. The NICMOS data, combined with the HST ACS, Spitzer, and GALEX observations of this sample, will result in the most comprehensive study of merging and interacting galaxies to date.


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/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/UV 11556

Investigations of the Pluto System

We propose a set of high SNR observations of the Pluto system that will provide improved lightcurves, orbits, and photometric properties of Nix and Hydra. The key photometric result for Nix and Hydra will be a vastly improved lightcurve shape and rotation period to test if the objects are in synchronous rotation or not. A second goal of this program will be to retrieve a new epoch of albedo map for the surface of Pluto. These observations will also improve masses and in some case densities for the bodies in the Pluto system.


The Extreme Globular Cluster System of Abell 1689: The Ultimate Test of Universal Formation Efficiency

The stellar masses of the most luminous galaxies poorly represent the masses of the halos in which they reside. However, recent studies of the very rich globular cluster (GC) populations in the centers of galaxy clusters point toward an apparently linear scaling of the number of GCs with the total core mass of the galaxy cluster. Thus, unlike for the stars in cD galaxies, GC formation in these systems appears to have proceeded with a roughly universal mass conversion efficiency. GCs are also distinct in that their spatial distributions are more extended than the starlight, and recent simulations suggest that they follow the mass density profile of the merged dark matter halos that formed stars at high redshift. To provide a definitive test of the universal efficiency hypothesis requires measuring the number of GCs in the most massive galaxy clusters, where the number should be a factor of 5 or more greater than seen in M87. Likewise, the relationship between GCs and mass density can only be tested in systems where the total mass and mass density are well-determined. Fortunately, the imaging power of HST brings the GC population of Abell 1689, the most extreme high-mass lensing cluster, into range. Estimates of the size of the A1689 GC population from available data suggest an unprecedented 100, 000 GCs, but this number is based on the tip of the iceberg and is extremely uncertain. We propose to obtain the first accurate measurement of the number of GCs and their density profile in this extraordinary system – the most massive and most distant GC system ever studied – and thus make the ultimate test of the universal GC formation hypothesis. Our deep I-band image will also provide a stringent “null-detection” test of several known z>7 galaxy candidates and improve the mass model of the system by increasing the number of usable lensed background galaxies. Finally, we will take deep multi-band parallel observations with WFC3/IR to help in quantifying the abundance of rare faint red objects.

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.