Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Status Report #4177

By SpaceRef Editor
August 16, 2006
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NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Status Report #4177

HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE – Continuing to collect World Class Science DAILY REPORT # 4177

PERIOD COVERED: UT August 14, 2006 (DOY 226)



CCD Hot Pixel Annealing

Hot pixel annealing will continue to be performed once every 4 weeks. The CCD TECs will be turned off and heaters will be activated to bring the detector temperatures to about +20C. This state will be held for approximately 6 hours, after which the heaters are turned off, the TECs turned on, and the CCDs returned to normal operating condition. To assess the effectiveness of the annealing, a bias and four dark images will be taken before and after the annealing procedure for both WFC and HRC. The HRC darks are taken in parallel with the WFC darks. The charge transfer efficiency {CTE} of the ACS CCD detectors declines as damage due to on-orbit radiation exposure accumulates. This degradation has been closely monitored at regular intervals, because it is likely to determine the useful lifetime of the CCDs. We combine the annealling activity with the charge transfer efficiency monitoring and also merge into the routine dark image collection. To this end, the CTE monitoring exposures have been moved into this proposal . All the data for this program is acquired using internal targets {lamps} only, so all of the exposures should be taken during Earth occultation time {but not during SAA passages}. 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. Extended Pixel Edge Response {EPER} and First Pixel Response {FPR} data will be obtained over a range of signal levels for both the Wide Field Channel {WFC}, and the High Resolution Channel {HRC}.


ACS CCDs daily monitor

This program consists of a set of basic tests to monitor, the read noise, the development of hot pixels and test for any source of noise in ACS CCD detectors. The files, biases and dark will be used to create reference files for science calibration. This programme will be for the entire lifetime of ACS. Changes from cycle 13:- The default gain for WFC is 2 e-/DN. As before bias frames will be collected for both gain 1 and gain 2. Dark frames are acquired using the default gain {2}. This program cover the period May, 31 2006- Oct, 1-2006. The first half of the program has a different proposal number: 10729.

ACS/WFC 10551

Gamma-Ray Bursts from Start to Finish: A Legacy Approach

The progenitors of long-duration GRBs are now known to be massive stars. This result lends credence to the collapsar model, where a rotating massive star ends its life leaving a black hole or a highly magnetized neutron star, and confirms its essential aspects. The focus of attention now is on the black hole or magnetar engines that power the bursts. Somehow these engines create the most highly relativistic and highly collimated outflows that we know of, through mechanisms that no current theory can explain. These astrophysical laboratories challenge our understanding of relativistic shocks, of mechanisms for extracting energy from a black hole, and of how physics works in extreme conditions. The launch of Swift is bringing us into a new era, where we can make broadband observations that will enable us to study these fascinating physical processes. We propose here an ambitious, comprehensive program to obtain the datasets that will become the standard that any successful model for the central engine must explain. This programs leverages the HST observations to the maximum extent by our commitment of Swift observations, a Large program at the VLA, and extensive ground-based optical resources. By studying the engines and searching for jets in a variety of events, this program will investigate the conditions necessary for the engine and jet formation itself.

ACS/WFC 10769

X-Ray Sources in Starburst Galaxies

We propose to observe a sample of nearby, M82-like, starburst galaxies with high star formation rates. The data will be used to better understand the correlation between the X-ray point population in a galaxy and its star formation rate, to measure the high end of X-ray point source luminosity function to verify or refute the cutoff reported at high luminosities, and, using joint NICMOS and ACS/WFC observations, to study the spatial relation between X-ray source and star forming regions.

ACS/WFC 10816

The Formation History of Andromeda’s Extended Metal-Poor Halo

We propose deep ACS imaging in the outer spheroid of the Andromeda galaxy, in order to measure the star formation history of its true halo. For the past 20 years, nearly all studies of the Andromeda “halo” were focused on the spheroid within 30 kpc of the galaxy’s center, a region now known to host significant substructure and populations with high metallicity and intermediate ages. However, two groups have recently discovered an extended metal-poor halo beyond 30 kpc; this population is distinct in its surface-brightness profile, abundance distribution, and kinematics. In earlier cycles, we obtained deep images of the inner spheroid {11 kpc on the minor axis}, outer disk {25 kpc on the major axis}, and giant tidal stream, yielding the complete star formation history in each field. We now propose deep ACS imaging of 4 fields bracketing this 30 kpc transition point in the spheroid, so that the inner spheroid and the extended halo populations can be disentangled, enabling a reconstruction of the star formation history in the halo. A wide age distribution in the halo, as found in the inner spheroid, would imply the halo was assembled through ongoing accretion of satellite galaxies, while a uniformly old population would be a strong indication that the halo was formed during the early rapid collapse of the Andromeda proto-galaxy.

ACS/WFC 10922

Searching for Signs of a Double Generation of Stars in Galactic Globular Clusters

This proposal has been stimulated by new findings of ours that may have a strong impact on the interpretation of globular cluster {GC} stellar populations. In 2004, based on HST data, we have found that the main sequence of the Galactic globular cluster Omega Centauri is split into two sequences; spectroscopic analysis has shown that the only isochrones which are able to fit the combination of color and metallicity of the bluest of the two sequences were younger and greatly enriched in helium. A number of observational facts, and theoretical evidence suggest that our results on Omega Centauri might represent an extreme case of a phenomenon which has also been at work in other GCs. We have selected the most promising GCs to find out whether this hypothesis is correct, and make a strong case for its likelihood and the value of pursuing it.

NIC1/NIC2/NIC3 8794

NICMOS Post-SAA calibration – CR Persistence Part 5

A new procedure proposed to alleviate the CR-persistence problem of NICMOS. Dark frames will be obtained immediately upon exiting the SAA contour 23, and every time a NICMOS exposure is scheduled within 50 minutes of coming out of the SAA. The darks will be obtained in parallel in all three NICMOS Cameras. The POST-SAA darks will be non-standard reference files available to users with a USEAFTER date/time mark. The keyword ‘USEAFTER=date/time’ will also be added to the header of each POST-SAA DARK frame. The keyword must be populated with the time, in addition to the date, because HST crosses the SAA ~8 times per day so each POST-SAA DARK will need to have the appropriate time specified, for users to identify the ones they need. Both the raw and processed images will be archived as POST-SAA DARKSs. Generally we expect that all NICMOS science/calibration observations started within 50 minutes of leaving an SAA will need such maps to remove the CR persistence from the science images. Each observation will need its own CRMAP, as different SAA passages leave different imprints on the NICMOS detectors.

S/C/NIC1 10724

NICMOS Focus Monitoring

The purpose of this proposal is to determine the best focus for all three NICMOS detectors. The program will be executed every ~6 weeks. Each execution will concern a single detector, except two occasions which will include NIC3. In total NIC1 and NIC2 will be monitored 4 times each during the current cycle, while NIC3 will only be monitored twice. The program starts with a focus sweep using only the NIC1 camera {visit 11}. The following observation is with the NIC2 camera {visit 12} after about 45 days. This pattern is repeated throughout the period except for Jan 1-8 and Jul 1-8 where also the NIC3 camera is used. In total this will result in 10 orbits. Notice that VISIT #1 #2 refers to visits for #1 sequential visit number for a given camera #2 camera in question visit 32 is therefore the third visit for camera 2. Some tweaking of dates and sources are necessary to ensure visibility under 2-gyro mode. These are the dates and targets for Cycel14: Visit 11: Oct 01-08 NIC1 NGC1850 Visit 12: Nov 15-22 NIC2 NGC3603 Visit 21: Jan 01-15 NIC1 NGC3603 Visit 13: Jan 01-15 NIC3 NGC3603 Visit 22: Feb 15-22 NIC2 NGC3603 Visit 31: Apr 01-15 NIC1 NGC1850 Visit 32: May 22-31 NIC2 NGC3603 Visit 41: Jun 15-22 NIC1 NGC1850 Visit 23: Jun 15-22 NIC3 NGC1850 Visit 42: Aug 07-22 NIC2 NGC3603

WFPC2 10631

Intermediate-Age Globular Clusters in M31

We propose deep ACS/WFC imaging of four halo M31 globular clusters in order to derive their horizontal branch morphologies. Our spectroscopic investigation of their integrated light identifies them as members of an intermediate-age population of globular clusters in M31. Since our spectroscopic results are based on the analysis of Balmer absorption lines, we need to secure our results against an artificial juvenation due to extreme horizontal branch morphologies. The proposed observations will allow a clear-cut answer to the question of whether spectroscopically derived intermediate-age estimates are due to genuinely younger ages or are the result of anomalously hot horizontal branch morphologies. Either way, our results will have important implications for spectroscopically derived ages and metallicities of distant stellar populations. Because of the high spatial resolution of the proposed ACS/WFC observations we will also derive accurate surface brightness profiles of our target globular clusters and investigate the influence of stellar density on horizontal branch morphology. Moreover, together with deep parallel WFPC2 fields we will study the metallicity dispersion of the background stellar population in M31 as a function of galactocentric radius.


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

HSTARS: (None)



                         SCHEDULED      SUCCESSFUL 
FGS GSacq                05                     05 
FGS REacq                08                     08 
OBAD with Maneuver   26                     26 


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