NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Status Report #4546

Status Report From: Space Telescope Science Institute
Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2008

image HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE DAILY REPORT # 4546 Continuing to collect World Class Science PERIOD COVERED: UT February 12, 2007 (DOY 043)


ACS/SBC 10862

Comprehensive Auroral Imaging of Jupiter and Saturn during the International Heliophysical Year

A comprehensive set of observations of the auroral emissions from Jupiter and Saturn is proposed for the International Heliophysical Year in 2007, a unique period of especially concentrated measurements of space physics phenomena throughout the solar system. We propose to determine the physical relationship of the various auroral processes at Jupiter and Saturn with conditions in the solar wind at each planet. This can be accomplished with campaigns of observations, with a sampling interval not to exceed one day, covering at least one solar rotation. The solar wind plasma density approaching Jupiter will be measured by the New Horizons spacecraft, and a separate campaign near opposition in May 2007 will determine the effect of large-scale variations in the interplanetary magnetic field {IMF} on the Jovian aurora by extrapolation from near-Earth solar wind measurements. A similar Saturn campaign near opposition in Jan. 2007 will combine extrapolated solar wind data with measurements from a wide range of locations within the Saturn magnetosphere by Cassini. In the course of making these observations, it will be possible to fully map the auroral footprints of Io and the other satellites to determine both the local magnetic field geometry and the controlling factors in the electromagnetic interaction of each satellite with the corotating magnetic field and plasma density. Also in the course of making these observations, the auroral emission properties will be compared with the properties of the near-IR ionospheric emissions {from ground-based observations} and non thermal radio emissions, from ground-based observations for Jupiter's decametric radiation and Cassini plasma wave measurements of the Saturn Kilometric Radiation {SKR}.

FGS 11210

The Architecture of Exoplanetary Systems

Are all planetary systems coplanar? Concordance cosmogony makes that prediction. It is, however, a prediction of extrasolar planetary system architecture as yet untested by direct observation for main sequence stars other than the Sun. To provide such a test, we propose to carry out FGS astrometric studies on four stars hosting seven companions. Our understanding of the planet formation process will grow as we match not only system architecture, but formed planet mass and true distance from the primary with host star characteristics for a wide variety of host stars and exoplanet masses. We propose that a series of FGS astrometric observations with demonstrated 1 millisecond of arc per-observation precision can establish the degree of coplanarity and component true masses for four extrasolar systems: HD 202206 {brown dwarf+planet}; HD 128311 {planet+planet}, HD 160691 =3D mu Arae {planet+planet}, and HD 222404AB =3D gamma Cephei {planet+star}. In each case the companion is identified as such by assuming that the minimum mass is the actual mass. For the last target, a known stellar binary system, the companion orbit is stable only if coplanar with the AB binary orbit.

FGS 11228

Extrasolar Planet XO-2b

We propose observations of the newly discovered extrasolar planet XO-2b and its twin star XO- 2. When combined with the transit light curve, the FGS-derived parallax will constrain the stellar mass of the host star XO-2. From the high signal-to-noise near-IR time series resulting from NICMOS grism spectroscopy, we will refine the system parameters, in particular radii of the star and planet. From the same data, we will search for evidence of water vapor in the atmosphere via transmission spectroscopy. Differential observations with NICMOS in the spectroscopic mode will be used to search for the small spectral changes that occur during planetary transits resulting from absorption of stellar light as it passes through the planetary atmosphere. Water is an important constituent, the detection of which would provide information on Oxygen, and it has a convenient strong band well-positioned for NICMOS.

NIC1/NIC2/NIC3 8795

NICMOS Post-SAA calibration - CR Persistence Part 6

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=3Ddate/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 DARKS. 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 i mages. Each observation will need its own CRMAP, as different SAA passages leave different imprints on the NICMOS detectors.

NIC2 11142

Revealing the Physical Nature of Infrared Luminous Galaxies at 0.3

We aim to determine physical properties of IR luminous galaxies at 0.3 0.8mJy and their mid-IR spectra have already provided the majority targets with spectroscopic redshifts {0.31 ULIRGs, as in the local Universe. {2} study the co-evolution of star formation and blackhole accretion by investigating the relations between the fraction of starburst/AGN measured from mid-IR spectra vs. HST morphologies, L{bol} and z. {3} obtain the current best estimates of the far-IR emission, thus L{bol} for this sample, and establish if the relative contribution of mid-to-far IR dust emission is correlated with morphology {resolved vs. unresolved}.

WFPC2 11040

Geometric Distortion / Astrometry Closeout

These observations will serve as a final characterization of the geometric distortion and astrometric calibration. The Omega-Cen inner calibration field is used. Filters F300W, F555W, and F814W are observed at 5 roll angles spanning 180 degrees; F218W is observed at a single roll angle.

WFPC2 11083

The Structure, Formation and Evolution of Galactic Cores and Nuclei

A surprising result has emerged from the ACS Virgo Cluster Survey {ACSVCS}, a program to obtain ACS/WFC gz imaging for a large, unbiased sample of 100 early-type galaxies in the Virgo Cluster. On subarcsecond scales {i.e., <0.1"-1"}, the HST brightness profiles vary systematically from the brightest giants {which have nearly constant surface brightness cores} to the faintest dwarfs {which have compact stellar nuclei}. Remarkably, the fraction of galaxy mass contributed by the nuclei in the faint galaxies is identical to that contributed by supermassive black holes in the bright galaxies {0.2%}. These findings strongly suggest that a single mechanism is responsible for both types of Central Massive Object: most likely internally or externally modulated gas inflows that feed central black holes or lead to the formation of "nuclear star clusters". Understanding the history of gas accretion, star formation and chemical enrichment on subarcsecond scales has thus emerged as the single most pressing question in the study of nearby galactic nuclei, either active or quiescent. We propose an ambitious HST program {199 orbits} that constitutes the next, obvious step forward: high-resolution, ultraviolet {WFPC2/F255W} and infrared {NIC1/F160W} imaging for the complete ACSVCS sample. By capitalizing on HST's unique ability to provide high-resolution images with a sharp and stable PSF at UV and IR wavelengths, we will leverage the existing optical HST data to obtain the most complete picture currently possible for the history of star formation and chemical enrichment on these small scales. Equally important, this program will lead to a significant improvement in the measured structural parameters and density distributions for the stellar nuclei and the underlying galaxies, and provide a sensitive measure of "frosting" by young stars in the galaxy cores. By virtue of its superb image quality and stable PSF, NICMOS is the sole instrument capable of the IR observations proposed here. In the case of the WFPC2 observations, high-resolution UV imaging {< 0.1"} is a capability unique to HST, yet one that could be lost at any time.

WFPC2 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 WFPC2 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!


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

HSTARS: 11187- GSAcq (1,2,2) failed to RGA Hold

At 044/06:54:29 GSAcq (1,2,2) scheduled from 044/06:50:57 - 06:58:19 failed to RGA Hold (Gyro Control) due to QSTOP and QF1STOPF flags on FGS 1. Received two 486 ESB (1808), TxG FHST Sanity Check Failed messages. OBAD #1 RSS =3D 879.59 a-s. OBAD #2 =3D 9.44 a-s. An OBAD MAP = was not scheduled. Additionally, received 19 ACS 779 Status Buffer Messages ("Fold Mechanism Move was Blocked") following the failure of the GSacq. This resulted in the TDF to be down when the Fold mechanism move was commanded.

11188- GSAcq (2,1,1) failed due to Scan Step Limit Exceeded on FGS 2=20 At 044/08:58:38 GSAcq (2,1,1) scheduled from 08:55:36 - 09:03:04 failed due to Scan Step Limit Exceeded on FGS 2. No 486 ESB messages received. OBAD #1 RSS =3D 1206.37 a-s. OBAD #2 RSS =3D 5.23 a-s. An = OBAD MAP was not scheduled.



                        SCHEDULED      SUCCESSFUL
FGS GSacq                10                  08
FGS REacq                05                  05
OBAD with Maneuver       30                  30


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