Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Status Report #4401

By SpaceRef Editor
July 13, 2007
Filed under , ,
NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Status Report #4401

Notice: Due to the conversion of some ACS WFC or HRC observations into WFPC2, or NICMOS observations after the loss of ACS CCD science capability in January, there may be an occasional discrepancy between a proposal’s listed (and correct) instrument usage and the abstract that follows it.


– Continuing to collect World Class Science

PERIOD COVERED: UT July 10, 2007 (DOY 191)


FGS 11214

HST/FGS Astrometric Search for Young Planets Around Beta Pic and AU Mic

Beta Pic and AU Mic are two nearby Vega-type debris disk stars. Both of these disk systems have been spatially resolved in exquisite detail, predominantly via the ACS coronagraph and WFPC-2 cameras onboard HST. These images exhibit a wealth of morphological features which provide compelling indirect evidence that these systems likely harbor short-period planetary body{ies}. We propose to use the superlative astrometric capabilities of HST/FGS to directly detect these planets, hence provide the first direct planet detection in a Vega-type system whose disk has been imaged at high spatial resolution.

NIC1 11057

Cycle 15 NICMOS dark current, shading profile, and read noise monitoring program

The purpose of this proposal is to monitor the dark current, read noise, and shading profile for all three NICMOS detectors throughout the duration of Cycle 15. This proposal is a slightly modified version of proposal 10380 of cycle 13 and 9993 of cycle12 and is the same as Cycle 14. that we cut down some exposure time to make the observation fit within 24 orbits.

NIC1/NIC3 10924

Constraints on the Assembly and Dynamical Masses of z~2 Galaxies

We propose deep NICMOS/NIC2 F160W imaging of seven star-forming galaxies at z~2. These galaxies comprise an entirely unique sample, with not only redshifts measured from optical and near-IR spectra, but also SINFONI/VLT near-IR integral field spectroscopic measurements providing kinematic maps of H-alpha emission out to radii of >=10 kpc. We aim to determine the dynamical masses and evolutionary states of these systems, as part of the larger goal of understanding how mass is assembled in distant galaxies. In order to interpret our novel H-alpha integral field maps in terms of mass, we require detailed knowledge of the structural parameters of our target objects at rest-frame optical wavelengths and on ~1 kpc scales. We want to establish if the mass is distributed in a disk, bulge, or merging sub-units, and if we can detect tidal features associated with a merger. F160W imaging with NICMOS/NIC2 provides the perfect combination of sensitivity and resolution to address these questions, and arrive at the fundamental quantity: the dynamical mass.


NICMOS Post-SAA calibration – CR Persistence Part 2

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.

WFPC2 10818

Very Young Globular Clusters in M31 ?

We propose to use HST’s unique high spatial resolution imaging capabilities to conclusively confirm or refute the presence of alleged very young globular clusters in M31. Such young globular clusters with ages < 3 Gyr are not present in our galaxy, and, if real, would lead to a striking difference in the age distribution of the GCs between M31 and the Millky Way. If the apparent presence of very young globular clusters in M31 is confirmed through our proposed ACS imaging {now WFPC2 imaging} with HST, this would suggest major differences in the history of assembly of the two galaxies, with probable substantial late accretion into M31 which did not occur in our own galaxy.

WFPC2 11079

Treasury Imaging of Star Forming Regions in the Local Group: Complementing the GALEX and NOAO Surveys

We propose to use WFPC2 to image the most interesting star-forming regions in the Local Group galaxies, to resolve their young stellar populations. We will use a set of filters including F170W, which is critical to detect and characterize the most massive stars, to whose hot temperatures colors at longer wavelengths are not sensitive. WFPC2’s field of view ideally matches the typical size of the star-forming regions, and its spatial resolution allows us to measure individual stars, given the proximity of these galaxies. The resulting H-R diagrams will enable studies of star- formation properties in these regions, which cover largely differing metallicities {a factor of 17, compared to the factor of 4 explored so far} and characteristics. The results will further our understanding of the star-formation process, of the interplay between massive stars and environment, the properties of dust, and will provide the key to interpret integrated measurements of star-formation indicators {UV, IR, Halpha} available for several hundreds more distant galaxies. Our recent deep surveys of these galaxies with GALEX {FUV, NUV} and ground-based imaging {UBVRI, Halpha, [OIII] and [SII]} provided the identification of the most relevant SF sites. In addition to our scientific analysis, we will provide catalogs of HST photometry in 6 bands, matched corollary ground-based data, and UV, Halpha and IR integrated measurements of the associations, for comparison of integrated star-formation indices to the resolved populations. We envisage an EPO component.

WFPC2 11218

Snapshot Survey for Planetary Nebulae in Globular Clusters of the Local Group

Planetary nebulae {PNe} in globular clusters {GCs} raise a number of interesting issues related to stellar and galactic evolution. The number of PNe known in Milky Way GCs, 4, is surprisingly low if one assumes that all stars pass through a PN stage. However, it is likely that the remnants of stars now evolving in Galactic GCs leave the AGB so slowly that any ejected nebula dissipates long before the star becomes hot enough to ionize it. Thus there should not be ANY PNe in Milky Way GCs–but there are four! It has been suggested that these PNe are the result of mergers of binary stars within GCs, i.e., that they are descendants of blue stragglers. The frequency of occurrence of PNe in external galaxies poses more questions, because it shows a range of almost an order of magnitude. I propose a Snapshot survey aimed at discovering PNe in the GC systems of Local Group galaxies more distant than the Magellanic Clouds. These clusters, some of which may be much younger than their counterparts in the Milky Way, might contain many more PNe than those of our own galaxy. I will use the standard technique of emission-line and continuum imaging, which easily discloses PNe.

WFPC2 11229

SEEDS: The Search for Evolution of Emission from Dust in Supernovae with HST and Spitzer

The role that massive stars play in the dust content of the Universe is extremely uncertain. It has long been hypothesized that dust can condense within the ejecta of supernovae {SNe}, however there is a frustrating discrepancy between the amounts of dust found in the early Universe, or predicted by nucleation theory, and inferred from SN observations. Our SEEDS collaboration has been carefully revisiting the observational case for dust formation by core- collapse SNe, in order to quantify their role as dust contributors in the early Universe. As dust condenses in expanding SN ejecta, it will increase in optical depth, producing three simultaneously observable phenomena: {1} increasing optical extinction; {2} infrared {IR} excesses; and {3} asymmetric blue-shifted emission lines. Our SEEDS collaboration recently reported all three phenomena occurring in SN2003gd, demonstrating the success of our observing strategy, and permitting us to derive a dust mass of up to 0.02 solar masses created in the SN. To advance our understanding of the origin and evolution of the interstellar dust in galaxies, we propose to use HST’s WFPC2 and NICMOS instruments plus Spitzer’s photometric instruments to monitor ten recent core-collapse SNe for dust formation and, as a bonus, detect light echoes that can affect the dust mass estimates. These space-borne observations will be supplemented by ground-based spectroscopic monitoring of their optical emission line profiles. These observations would continue our 2-year HST and Spitzer monitoring of this phenomena in order to address two key questions: Do all SNe produce dust? and How much dust do they produce? As all the SN are witin 15 Mpc, each SN stands an excellent chance of detection with HST and Spitzer and of resolving potential light echoes.

WFPC2 11289

SL2S: The Strong Lensing Legacy Survey

Recent systematic surveys of strong galaxy-galaxy lenses {CLASS, SLACS, GOODS, etc.} are producing spectacular results for galaxy masses roughly below a transition mass M~10^13 Mo. The observed lens properties and their evolution up to z~0.2, consistent with numerical simulations, can be described by isothermal elliptical potentials. In contrast, modeling of giant arcs in X-ray luminous clusters {halo masses M >~10^13 Mo} favors NFW mass profiles, suggesting that dark matter halos are not significantly affected by baryon cooling. Until recently, lensing surveys were neither deep nor extended enough to probe the intermediate mass density regime, which is fundamental for understanding the assembly of structures. The CFHT Legacy Survey now covers 125 square degrees, and thus offers a large reservoir of strong lenses probing a large range of mass densities up to z~1. We have extracted a list of 150 strong lenses using the most recent CFHTLS data release via automated procedures. Following our first SNAPSHOT proposal in cycle 15, we propose to continue the Hubble follow-up targeting a larger list of 130 lensing candidates. These are intermediate mass range candidates {between galaxies and clusters} that are selected in the redshift range of 0.2-1 with no a priori X-ray selection. The HST resolution is necessary for confirming the lensing candidates, accurate modeling of the lenses, and probing the total mass concentration in galaxy groups up to z~1 with the largest unbiased sample available to date.


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

HSTARS: (None)


                               SCHEDULED   SUCCESSFUL 

FGS GSacq                        8                 8 
FGS REacq                        7                 7 
OBAD with Maneuver              30               30 



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