Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Status Update #4988

By SpaceRef Editor
December 10, 2009
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PERIOD COVERED: 5am December 8 – 5am December 9, 2009 (DOY 342/10:00z-343/10:00z)



COS-GTO: Brown Dwarf Activity

COS will obtain ultraviolet spectra of a representative sample of brown dwarfs to study such questions as: (1) Is the hot gas in the outer atmospheres of young brown dwarfs heated by accretion? (2) Is the molecular hydrogen emission due to Lyman-alpha fluorescence or collisional excitation? (3) Are the older brown dwarfs without disks low mass analogs of active M dwarfs with flares and transient heating? (4) Are young brown dwarfs with disks low mass analogs of classical T Tauri stars?

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 11844

CCD Dark Monitor Part 1

The purpose of this proposal is to monitor the darks for the STIS CCD.

STIS/CCD 11846

CCD Bias Monitor-Part 1

The purpose of this proposal is to 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/MA1/MA2 11857

STIS Cycle 17 MAMA Dark Monitor

This proposal monitors the behavior of the dark current in each of the MAMA detectors.

The basic monitor takes two 1380s ACCUM darks each week with each detector. However, starting Oct 5, pairs are only included for weeks that the LRP has external MAMA observations planned. The weekly pairs of exposures for each detector are linked so that they are taken at opposite ends of the same SAA free interval. This pairing of exposures will make it easier to separate long and short term temporal variability from temperature dependent changes.

For both detectors, additional blocks of exposures are taken once every six months. These are groups of five 1314s FUV-MAMA Time-Tag darks or five 3x315s NUV ACCUM darks distributed over a single SAA-free interval. This will give more information on the brightness of the FUV MAMA dark current as a function of the amount of time that the HV has been on, and for the NUV MAMA will give a better measure of the short term temperature dependence.

WFC3/IR 11202

The Structure of Early-type Galaxies: 0.1-100 Effective Radii

The structure, formation and evolution of early-type galaxies is still largely an open problem in cosmology: how does the Universe evolve from large linear scales dominated by dark matter to the highly non-linear scales of galaxies, where baryons and dark matter both play important, interacting, roles? To understand the complex physical processes involved in their formation scenario, and why they have the tight scaling relations that we observe today (e.g. the Fundamental Plane), it is critically important not only to understand their stellar structure, but also their dark-matter distribution from the smallest to the largest scales. Over the last three years the SLACS collaboration has developed a toolbox to tackle these issues in a unique and encompassing way by combining new non-parametric strong lensing techniques, stellar dynamics, and most recently weak gravitational lensing, with high-quality Hubble Space Telescope imaging and VLT/Keck spectroscopic data of early-type lens systems. This allows us to break degeneracies that are inherent to each of these techniques separately and probe the mass structure of early-type galaxies from 0.1 to 100 effective radii. The large dynamic range to which lensing is sensitive allows us both to probe the clumpy substructure of these galaxies, as well as their low-density outer haloes. These methods have convincingly been demonstrated, by our team, using smaller pilot-samples of SLACS lens systems with HST data. In this proposal, we request observing time with WFC3 and NICMOS to observe 53 strong lens systems from SLACS, to obtain complete multi-color imaging for each system. This would bring the total number of SLACS lens systems to 87 with completed HST imaging and effectively doubles the known number of galaxy- scale strong lenses. The deep HST images enable us to fully exploit our new techniques, beat down low-number statistics, and probe the structure and evolution of early-type galaxies, not only with a uniform data-set an order of magnitude larger than what is available now, but also with a fully-coherent and self-consistent methodological approach!

WFC3/IR 11666

Chilly Pairs: A Search for the Latest-type Brown Dwarf Binaries and the Prototype Y Dwarf

We propose to use HST/NICMOS to image a sample of 27 of the nearest (< 20 pc) and lowest luminosity T-type brown dwarfs in order to identify and characterize new very low mass binary systems. Only 3 late-type T dwarf binaries have been found to date, despite that fact that these systems are critical benchmarks for evolutionary and atmospheric models at the lowest masses. They are also the most likely systems to harbor Y dwarf companions, an as yet unpopulated putative class of very cold (T < 600 K) brown dwarfs. Our proposed program will more than double the number of T5-T9 dwarfs imaged at high resolution, with an anticipated yield of ~5 new binaries with initial characterization of component spectral types. We will be able to probe separations sufficient to identify systems suitable for astrometric orbit and dynamical mass measurements. We also expect one of our discoveries to contain the first Y-type brown dwarf. Our proposed program complements and augments ongoing ground-based adaptive optics surveys and provides pathway science for JWST. 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/UVIS 11637 A Closeup View of a Twin of SN 1987A Before Explosion Last year we reported the discovery of a ring nebula called SBW1 around a blue supergiant star in our Galaxy. In almost every respect, it is a true “twin” of the equatorial ring nebula around SN 1987A: it has an identical physical radius of 0.2pc, a similar expansion speed and age, it is located in a massive HII region, the central star is an early B supergiant with the same luminosity as SN1987A’s progenitor, and the ring’s structure in our ground-based H-alpha images looks almost identical to early HST images of SN1987A’s ring. The detailed density structure of SN1987A’s ring on scales smaller than the limiting resolution of HST has become a pressing question, because the forward shock of the supernova is now colliding with that ring, causing it to brighten by 3 orders of magnitude and giving rise to a series of “hotspots” around the ring. HST/WFC3 images of SBW1 will provide a snapshot of an SN1987A-like ring before the supernova explodes, and will provide a detailed view of the important density inhomogeneities in the ring with a physical spatial resolution 10 times better than HST images of SN1987A (because SBW1 is 10 times closer to us). STIS spectra will allow us to directly measure the radial density structure of the ring. Both the overall radial density profile and the detailed structures of the clumps that give rise to the “hotspots” are critical factors in modeling the rapid evolution of SN1987A, and our proposed study of SBW1 will provide extremely valuable input for those models. WFC3/UVIS 11657 The Population of Compact Planetary Nebulae in the Galactic Disk We propose to secure narrow- and broad-band images of compact planetary nebulae (PNe) in the Galactic Disk to study the missing link of the early phases of post-AGB evolution. Ejected AGB envelopes become PNe when the gas is ionized. PNe expand, and, when large enough, can be studied in detail from the ground. In the interim, only the HST capabilities can resolve their size, morphology, and central stars. Our proposed observations will be the basis for a systematic study of the onset of morphology. Dust properties of the proposed targets will be available through approved Spitzer/IRS spectra, and so will the abundances of the alpha-elements. We will be able thus to explore the interconnection of morphology, dust grains, stellar evolution, and populations. The target selection is suitable to explore the nebular and stellar properties across the galactic disk, and to set constraints on the galactic evolutionary models through the analysis of metallicity and population gradients. 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). FLIGHT OPERATIONS SUMMARY: Significant Spacecraft Anomalies: (The following are preliminary reports of potential non-nominal performance that will be investigated.) HSTARS: (None) COMPLETED OPS REQUEST: #18776-0 Close NCS SV4 and Disable NICMOS TECs @ 342/20:43z COMPLETED OPS NOTES: #1965-0 Modify Sun/Aperture Error Counter Limit @ 342/17:34z

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


Ops Request 18776-0 to close the NCS Fill valve (SV4) and disable the NICMOS TECs has been successfully completed at 342/19:52z.

SpaceRef staff editor.