Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Status Report # 3704

By SpaceRef Editor
September 28, 2004
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HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE – Continuing to collect World Class Science




ACS/HRC 10182

Towards a Comprehensive Understanding of Type Ia Supernovae: The
Necessity of UV Observations

Type Ia supernovae {SNe Ia} are very important to many diverse areas
of astrophysics, from the chemical evolution of galaxies to
observational cosmology which led to the discovery of dark energy and
the accelerating Universe. However, the utility of SNe Ia as
cosmological probes depends on the degree of our understanding of SN
Ia physics, and various systematic effects such as cosmic chemical
evolution. At present, the progenitors of SNe Ia and the exact
explosion mechanisms are still poorly understood, as are evolutionary
effects on SN Ia peak luminosities. Since early-time UV spectra and
light curves of nearby SNe Ia can directly address these questions, we
propose an approach consisting of two observational components: {1}
Detailed studies of two very bright, young, nearby SNe Ia with HST UV
spectroscopy at 13 epochs within the first 1.5 months after discovery;
and {2} studies of correlations with luminosity for five somewhat more
distant Hubble-flow SNe Ia, for which relative luminosities can be
determined with precision, using 8 epochs of HST UV spectroscopy
and/or broad-band imaging. The HST data, along with extensive
ground-based optical to near-IR observations, will be analyzed with
state-of-the-art models to probe SN Ia explosion physics and constrain
the nature of the progenitors. The results will form the basis for the
next phase of precision cosmology measurements using SNe Ia, allowing
us to more fully capitalize on the substantial past {and future}
investments of time made with HST in observations of high-redshift SNe

ACS/HRC 10198

Probing the Dynamics of the Galactic Bar through the Kinematics of
Microlensed Stars

The observed optical depths to microlensing of stars in the Galactic
bulge are difficult to reconcile with our present understanding of
Galactic dynamics. The main source of uncertainty in those comparisons
is now shifting from microlensing measurements to the dynamical models
of the Galactic bar. We propose to constrain the Galactic bar models
with proper motion observations of Bulge stars that underwent
microlensing by determining both the kinematic identity of the
microlensed sources and the importance of streaming motions. The
lensed stars are typically farther than randomly selected stars.
Therefore, our proper motion determinations for 36 targeted MACHO
events will provide valuable constraints on the dynamics of bulge
stars as a function of distance. The first epoch data for our proposed
events is already available in the HST archive so the project can be
completed within a single HST cycle. The exceptional spatial
resolution of HST is essential for completion of the project.
Constraints on the total mass in the bulge will ultimately lead to the
determination of the amount of dark matter in inner Galaxy.

ACS/HRC 10377

ACS Earth Flats

High signal sky flats will be obtained by observing the bright Earth
with the HRC and WFC. These observations will be used to verify the
accuracy of the flats currently used by the pipeline and will provide
a comparison with flats derived via other techniques: L-flats from
stellar observations, sky flats from stacked GO observations, and
internal flats using the calibration lamps. Weekly coronographic
monitoring is required to assess the changing position of the spots.


CCD Daily Monitor

This program consists of basic tests to monitor, the read noise, the
development of hot pixels and test for any source of noise in ACS CCD
detectors. This programme will be executed once a day for the entire
lifetime of ACS.


The Formation History of Andromeda

We propose deep observations of Andromeda’s outer disk and giant tidal
stream, to reconstruct their star formation histories. As the nearest
giant galaxy, Andromeda offers the best testing ground for
understanding galaxy formation and evolution. Given the dramatic
increase in sensitivity offered by the ACS, we can now resolve stars
on the old main sequence in the other giant spiral of the Local Group,
and employ the same direct age diagnostics that have been used for
decades in the study of Galactic globular clusters. In Cycle 11, we
successfully observed a field in the Andromeda halo and constructed a
deep color-magnitude diagram reaching well below the oldest main
sequence turnoff. In Cycle 13, we propose to extend these observations
to the outer disk and tidal stream of Andromeda, to constrain their
star formation histories and compare them to that of the halo. The
combined observations from these two programs will offer a dramatic
advance in our understanding of the overall evolution of spiral

FGS 10106

An Astrometric Calibration of the Cepheid Period-Luminosity Relation

We propose to measure the parallaxes of 10 Galactic Cepheid variables.
When these parallaxes {with 1-sigma precisions of 10% or better} are
added to our recent HST FGS parallax determination of delta Cep
{Benedict et al 2002}, we anticipate determining the Period-Luminosity
relation zero point with a 0.03 mag precision. In addition to
permitting the test of assumptions that enter into other Cepheid
distance determination techniques, this calibration will reintroduce
Galactic Cepheids as a fundamental step in the extragalactic distance
scale ladder. A Period-Luminosity relation derived from solar
metallicity Cepheids can be applied directly to extragalactic solar
metallicity Cepheids, removing the need to bridge with the Large
Magellanic Cloud and its associated metallicity complications.

FGS 10197

The Astrophysical Parameters of Very Metal-Poor Halo Binaries

Little is currently known concerning the mass-luminosity relation
{MLR} of Population II stars. In Cycle 10, we began an initial study
with FGS1 to resolve a sample of known spectroscopic binaries
preselected as high-velocity and/or low metallicity objects. This has
resulted in significant new information about the astrophysical
parameters of metal-poor stars, but was limited mainly to intermediate
metallicities, not to true Population II stars. A new sample of
metal-poor spectroscopic binaries identified by Latham and his
collaborators {e.g. Latham et al 2002} contains three new very
metal-poor objects resolvable with FGS. We propose to observe these
binaries and obtain additional observations of two very important
resolved targets from our initial sample. As with that program, we
will couple the already-known spectroscopic orbits with astrometric
information which only FGS can deliver at present. To ensure that the
most will be gained from these data, we also request observations of
three metal-poor single stars to be used as calibration objects. In
combination with results from our previous program, these observations
can be expected to resolve the question of the location of the
Population II main sequence and give valuable insight into the
accuracy of isochrone fitting for determination of globular clusters
ages. Due to the combination of target magnitudes and expected
separations, no object in this sample can be resolved without the
unique capabilities of FGS.

NIC1/NIC2/NIC3 8793

NICMOS Post-SAA calibration – CR Persistence Part 4

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.

NIC2 10149

The Coevolution of Supermassive Black Holes and Galaxies at z~3

The existence of strong correlations between the mass of supermassive
black holes and galaxy bulge properties implies that there is an
intimate connection between their formation and evolution. How do
supermassive black holes grow and how did the correlations come about?
Is the growth of supermassive black holes coeval with the growth of
the bulge, and is a bulge necessary for AGN activity at high z? We
propose to use HST NICMOS to image 9 low-luminosity broad-line AGNs at
z~3 in the restframe B-band, identified through the Lyman-break
technique. This sample is unique because the AGN luminosities are
comparable to Seyfert-like nuclei at z~3, and thus are some of the
lowest that have been selected optically. Because of the low total
luminosity of the sample, the hosts are likely to be Lyman-break
galaxies, which are believed to be the progenitor galaxies of the
local Hubble sequence. The goal is to directly detect their host
galaxies and to separate the AGN, in order to study the host galaxy
morphology and luminosity. From measurement of the bulge luminosity
and black hole mass {through available spectra}, we will study the
black hole-bulge coevolution out to z~3. We will also compare the
luminosity and morphology of these faint AGN hosts with the more
luminous and massive host galaxies found in previous HST studies of

NIC2 10169

Star Formation in Luminous Infrared Galaxies: giant HII Regions and
Super Star Clusters

Luminous Infrared Galaxies {LIRGs, LIR = 10^11-10^12Lsol} and
Ultraluminous Infrared Galaxies {LIR>10^12Lsol} account for
approximately 75% of all the galaxies detected in the mid-infrared in
the redshift range z=0-1.5. In the local universe it is found that
LIRGs are predominantly powered by intense star formation {SF}.
However, the physical conditions and processes governing such dramatic
activity over scales of tens to a few hundred parsecs are poorly
known. In the last decade HST has been playing a significant role,
mainly with the discovery of super star clusters {SSCs}, and more
recently, giant HII regions. Based on observations of a few LIRGs, we
found that these giant HII regions and associated SSCs appear to be
more common in LIRGs than in normal galaxies, and may dominate the
star formation activity in LIRGs. A larger sample is required to
address fundamental questions. We propose an HST/NICMOS targeted
campaign of a volume limited sample {v<5200km/s} of 24 LIRGs. This proposal will probe the role of giant HII regions in the overall energetics of the current star formation, their relation to SSCs, and the dependence of star formation properties on other parameters of LIRGs. Such detailed knowledge of the SF properties of LIRGs in the local universe is essential for understanding galaxies at high redshift.

WFPC2 10071

WFPC2 CYCLE 12 Supplemental Darks Part 3/3

This dark calibration program obtains 3 dark frames every day to
provide data for monitoring and characterizing the evolution of hot


Significant Spacecraft Anomalies: (The following are preliminary
reports of potential non-nominal performance that will be
investigated.) None



                           SCHEDULED     SUCCESSFUL    FAILURE TIMES
FGS Gsacq                06                       06
FGS Reacq                09                       09
FHST Update              09                      09


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