Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report #5185

By SpaceRef Editor
September 21, 2010
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HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE – Continuing to Collect World Class Science


PERIOD COVERED: 5am September 20 – 5am September 21, 2010 (DOY 263/09:00z-264/09:00z)


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


12420 – GSAcq(1,2,1) at 263/23:12:48z and REAcq(1,2,1) scheduled at
264/00:25:23z, at 264/02:01:18z, at 264/03:37:13z, and at
264/05:13:08z all failed to RGA Hold (gyro control) with Search Radius Limit Exceeded on FGS-1

Observations affected: COS 30-35 Proposal ID#11598; WFC3 18-19
Proposal ID#11905; STIS 9-10 Proposal ID#11845; WFC3 20-22 & 24-32
Proposal ID#11696; WFC3 23 Proposal ID#11929; STIS 11-13 Proposal ID#11847 .

HSTAR FOR DOY 253-254:

12418 – GSAcq(2,1,1) at 254/05:10:52z required multiple attempts to achieve CT-DV on FGS2
12419 – GSAcq(1,2,1) at 253/19:08:29Z required two attempts to achieve CT-DV on FGS1.


18568-1 – LBBIAS Updates for Extended Gyro Guiding Intervals
18922-2 – R/T OBAD to Correct Attitude Error
18923-0 – R/T OBAD to Correct Attitude Error Before Next GSacq


FGS GSAcq 9 8
FGS REAcq 8 4
OBAD with Maneuver 6 6



ACS/WFC 11996

CCD Daily Monitor (Part 3)

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 308 orbits (19.25 weeks) from 21 June 2010 to 1 November 2010.

ACS/WFC 12166

A Snapshot Survey of The Most Massive Clusters of Galaxies

We propose the continuation of our highly successful HST/ACS SNAPshot survey of a sample of 123 very X-ray luminous clusters in the redshift range 0.3-0.7, detected and compiled by the MACS cluster survey. As demonstrated by dedicated HST observations of the 12 most distant MACS clusters (GO-09722) as well as by the MACS SNAPshots of an additional 25 obtained with ACS so far in Cycles 14 and 15, these systems frequently exhibit strong gravitational lensing as well as spectacular examples of violent galaxy evolution. A large number of additional MACS SNAPs have since been obtained with WFPC2, leading to the discovery of several more powerful cluster lenses. The dramatic loss, however, of depth, field-of-view, and angular resolution compared to ACS led to significantly reduced scientific returns, underlining the need for ACS for this project. The proposed observations will provide important constraints on the cluster mass distributions, on the physical nature of ! galaxy-galaxy and galaxy-gas interactions in cluster cores, and will yield a set of optically bright, lensed galaxies for further 8-10m spectroscopy. For those of our targets with existing ACS SNAPshot images, we propose SNAPshots in the WFC3 F110W and F140W passbands to obtain colour information that will greatly improve the secure identification of multiple-image systems and may, in the form of F606W or F814W dropouts, lead to the lensing-enabled discovery of very distant galaxies at z>5. Acknowledging the broad community interest in this sample (16 of the 25 targets of the approved MCT cluster program are MACS discoveries) we waive our data rights for these observations.

This proposal is an updated and improved version of our successful Cycle 15 proposal of the same title. Alas, SNAP-10875 collected only six snapshots in the F606W or F814W passbands, due to, first, a clerical error at STScI which caused the program to be barred from execution for four months and, ultimately, the failure of ACS. With ACS restored, and WFC3 providing additional wavelength and redshift leverage, we wish to resume this previously approved project.

ACS/WFC 12210

SLACS for the Masses: Extending Strong Lensing to Lower Masses and Smaller Radii

Strong gravitational lensing provides the most accurate possible measurement of mass in the central regions of early-type galaxies (ETGs). We propose to continue the highly productive Sloan Lens ACS (SLACS) Survey for strong gravitational lens galaxies by observing a substantial fraction of 135 new ETG gravitational-lens candidates with HST-ACS WFC F814W Snapshot imaging. The proposed target sample has been selected from the seventh and final data release of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and is designed to complement the distribution of previously confirmed SLACS lenses in lens-galaxy mass and in the ratio of Einstein radius to optical half-light radius. The observations we propose will lead to a combined SLACS sample covering nearly two decades in mass, with dense mapping of enclosed mass as a function of radius out to the half-light radius and beyond. With this longer mass baseline, we will extend our lensing and dynamical analysis of the mass structure and scaling relations of ETGs to galaxies of significantly lower mass, and directly test for a transition in structural and dark-matter content trends at intermediate galaxy mass. The broader mass coverage will also enable us to make a direct connection to the structure of well-studied nearby ETGs as deduced from dynamical modeling of their line-of-sight velocity distribution fields. Finally, the combined sample will allow a more conclusive test of the current SLACS result that the intrinsic scatter in ETG mass-density structure is not significantly correlated with any other galaxy observables. The final SLACS sample at the conclusion of this program will comprise approximately 130 lenses with known foreground and background redshifts, and is likely to be the largest confirmed sample of strong-lens galaxies for many years to come.

ACS/WFC3 11575

The Stellar Origins of Supernovae

Supernovae (SNe) have a profound effect on galaxies, and have been used recently as precise cosmological probes, resulting in the discovery of the accelerating Universe. They are clearly very important events deserving of intense study. Yet, even with nearly 4000 known SNe, we know relatively little about the stars which give rise to these powerful explosions. The main limitation has been the lack of spatial resolution in pre-SN imaging data. However, since 1999 our team has been at the vanguard of directly identifying SN progenitor stars in HST images. From this exciting new line of study, the emerging trend from 5 detections for Type II- Plateau SNe is that their progenitors appear to be relatively low mass (8 to 20 Msun) red supergiants, although more cases are needed. Nonetheless, the nature of the progenitors of Type Ib/c SNe, a subset of which are associated with the amazing gamma-ray bursts, remains ambiguous. Furthermore, we remain in the continually embarrassing situation that we still do not yet know which progenitor systems explode as Type Ia SNe, which are currently being used for precision cosmology. In Cycle 16 we have triggered on the Type Ic SN 2007gr and Type IIb SN 2008ax so far. We propose to determine the identities of the progenitors of 4 SNe within 17 Mpc, which we expect to occur during Cycle 17, through ToO observations using ACS/HRC.

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/FUV 11897

FUV Spectroscopic Sensitivity Monitoring

The purpose of this proposal is to monitor sensitivity in each FUV grating mode to detect any changes due to contamination or other causes.

COS/FUV 11997

FUV Internal/External Wavelength Scale Monitor

This program monitors the offsets between the wavelength scale set by the internal wavecal versus that defined by absorption lines in external targets. This is accomplished by observing two external targets in the SMC: SK191 with G130M and G160M and Cl* NGC 330 ROB B37 with G140L (SK191 is too bright to be observed with G140L). The cenwaves observed in this program are a subset of the ones used during Cycle 17. Observing all cenwaves would require a considerably larger number of orbits. Constraints on scheduling of each target are placed so that each target is observed once every ~2-3 months. Observing the two targets every month would also require a considerably larger number of orbits.

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 11728 The Impact of Starbursts on the Gaseous Halos of Galaxies Perhaps the most important (yet uncertain) aspects of galaxy evolution are the processes by which galaxies accrete gas and by which the resulting star formation and black hole growth affects this accreting gas. It is believed that both the form of the accretion and the nature of the feedback change as a function of the galaxy mass. At low mass the gas comes in cold and the feedback is provided by massive stars. At high mass, the gas comes in hot, and the feedback is from an AGN. The changeover occurs near the mass where the galaxy population transitions from star-forming galaxies to red and dead ones. The population of red and dead galaxies is building with cosmic time, and it is believed that feedback plays an important role in this process: shutting down star formation by heating and/or expelling the reservoir of cold halo gas. To investigate these ideas, we propose to use COS far-UV spectra of background QSOs to measure the properties of the halo gas in a sample of galaxies near the transition mass that have undergone starbursts within the past 100 Myr to 1 Gyr. The galactic wind associated with the starburst is predicted to have affected the properties of the gaseous halo. To test this, we will compare the properties of the halos of the post-starburst galaxies to those of a control sample of galaxies matched in mass and QSO impact parameter. Do the halos of the post-starburst galaxies show a higher incidence rate of Ly-Alpha and metal absorption-lines? Are the kinematics of the halo gas more disturbed in the post-starbursts? Has the wind affected the ionization state and/or the metallicity of the halo? These data will provide fresh new insights into the role of feedback from massive stars on the evolution of galaxies, and may also offer clues about the properties of the QSO metal absorption-line systems at high-redshift . NIC2/WFC3/IR 11548 Infrared Imaging of Protostars in the Orion A Cloud: The Role of Environment in Star Formation We propose NICMOS and WFC3/IR observations of a sample of 252 protostars identified in the Orion A cloud with the Spitzer Space Telescope. These observations will image the scattered light escaping the protostellar envelopes, providing information on the shapes of outflow cavities, the inclinations of the protostars, and the overall morphologies of the envelopes. In addition, we ask for Spitzer time to obtain 55-95 micron spectra of 75 of the protostars. Combining these new data with existing 3.6 to 70 micron photometry and forthcoming 5-40 micron spectra measured with the Spitzer Space Telescope, we will determine the physical properties of the protostars such as envelope density, luminosity, infall rate, and outflow cavity opening angle. By examining how these properties vary with stellar density (i.e. clusters vs. groups vs. isolation) and the properties of the surrounding molecular cloud; we can directly measure how the surrounding environment influences protostellar evolution, and consequently, the formation of stars and planetary systems. Ultimately, this data will guide the development of a theory of protostellar evolution. STIS/CCD 11721 Verifying the Utility of Type Ia Supernovae as Cosmological Probes: Evolution and Dispersion in the Ultraviolet Spectra The study of distant type Ia supernova (SNe Ia) offers the most practical and immediate discriminator between popular models of dark energy. Yet fundamental questions remain over possible redshift-dependent trends in their observed and intrinsic properties. High-quality Keck spectroscopy of a representative sample of 36 intermediate redshift SNe Ia has revealed a surprising, and unexplained, diversity in their rest-frame UV fluxes. One possible explanation is hitherto undiscovered variations in the progenitor metallicity. Unfortunately, this result cannot be compared to local UV data as only two representative SNe Ia have been studied near maximum light. Taking advantage of two new `rolling searches’ and the restoration of STIS, we propose a non-disruptive TOO campaign to create an equivalent comparison local sample. This will allow us to address possible evolution in the mean UV spectrum and its diversity, an essential precursor to the study of SNe beyond z~1. 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/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/UV 12215 Searching for the Missing Low-Mass Companions of Massive Stars Recent results on binary companions of massive O stars appear to indicate that the distribution of secondary masses is truncated at low masses. It thus mimics the distribution of companions of G dwarfs and also the Initial Mass Function (IMF), except that it is shifted upward by a factor of 20 in mass. These results, if correct, provide a distribution of mass ratios that hints at a strong constraint on the star-formation process. However, this intriguing result is derived from a complex simulation of data which suffer from observational incompleteness at the low-mass end. We propose a snapshot survey to test this result in a very direct way. HST WFC3 images of a sample of the nearest Cepheids (which were formerly B stars of ~5 Msun) will search for low-mass companions down to M dwarfs. We will confirm any companions as young stars, and thus true physical companions, through follow-up Chandra X-ray images. Our survey will show clearly whether the companion mass distribution is truncated at low masses, but at a mass much higher than that of the IMF or G dwarfs. WFC3/UV/IR 12234 Differentiation in the Kuiper belt: a Search for Silicates on Icy Bodies. We currently have a large on-going program (Go Program 11644, 120 orbits) to exploit the superb stability and photometric characteristics of HST and the broad range in wavelength coverage of the WFC3 to make broad-band vis/IR spectral observations of a large sample of Kuiper belt objects. Though the survey is currently only ~50% complete, the quality and unprecedented signal-to-noise of these observations has revealed the existence of a previously undiscovered spectral variability not explainable within our current understanding of these objects. A possible explanation for this variability is that with this faint set of Kuiper belt objects, we are beginning to see the difference between larger differentiated objects and smaller non-differentiated objects. Its seems that the small and likely undifferentiated objects are exhibiting silicate features that affect our photometry – features not exhibited by the icy mantles of larger icy bodies. We propose a small add-on survey to dramatically increase the scientific results of our large program. The proposed observations will use the proven capabilities of WFC3 to make broad and narrow-band photometric observations to detect spectral features in the 1.0-1.3 micron range of a small subset of our sources. The 13 targets have been carefully selected to cover the range of spectral variability detected in our large program as well as sample the entire dynamical range and physical sizes of these targets. These observations will allow the identification of undifferentiated Kuiper belt objects by detection of their silicate features. As a probe for differentiation, these observations could constrain the natal locations of different Kuiper belt classes, a constraint currently unavailable to formation models. This small set of observations will allow the calibration of the spectral variability seen in our large program, and drastically enhance the scientific output of our full Cycle 17 sample. 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/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 possibility 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/UVIS/IR 11700 Bright Galaxies at z>7.5 with a WFC3 Pure Parallel Survey

The epoch of reionization represents a special moment in the history of the Universe as it is during this era that the first galaxies and star clusters are formed. Reionization also profoundly affects the environment where subsequent generations of galaxies evolve. Our overarching goal is to test the hypothesis that galaxies are responsible for reionizing neutral hydrogen. To do so we propose to carry out a pure parallel WFC3 survey to constrain the bright end of the redshift z>7.5 galaxy luminosity function on a total area of 176 arcmin^2 of sky. Extrapolating the evolution of the luminosity function from z~6, we expect to detect about 20 Lyman Break Galaxies brighter than M_* at z~8 significantly improving the current sample of only a few galaxies known at these redshifts. Finding significantly fewer objects than predicted on the basis of extrapolation from z=6 would set strong limits to the brightness of M_*, highlighting a fast evolution of the luminosity function with the possible implication that galaxies alone cannot reionize the Universe. Our observations will find the best candidates for spectroscopic confirmation, that is bright z>7.5 objects, which would be missed by small area deeper surveys. The random pointing nature of the program is ideal to beat cosmic variance, especially severe for luminous massive galaxies, which are strongly clustered. In fact our survey geometry of 38 independent fields will constrain the luminosity function like a contiguous single field survey with two times more area at the same depth. Lyman Break Galaxies at z>7.5 down to m_AB=26.85 (5 sigma) in F125W will be selected as F098M dropouts, using three to five orbits visits that include a total of four filters (F606W, F098M, F125W, F160W) optimized to remove low-redshift interlopers and cool stars. Our data will be highly complementary to a deep field search for high-z galaxies aimed at probing the faint end of the luminosity function, allowing us to disentangle the degeneracy between faint end slope and M_* in a Schechter function fit of the luminosity function. We waive proprietary rights for the data. In addition, we commit to release the coordinates and properties of our z>7.5 candidates within one month from the acquisition of each field.

SpaceRef staff editor.