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Old January 31st 06, 01:39 PM posted to sci.astro.hubble
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Default Daily #4039

HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE - Continuing to collect World Class Science

DAILY REPORT #4039

PERIOD COVERED: UT January 30, 2006 (DOY 030)

OBSERVATIONS SCHEDULED

ACS/HRC 10476

Accurate Mass Determination of the Ancient White Dwarf ER 8 Through
Astrometric Microlensing

We propose to determine the mass of the very cool white dwarf ER 8
through astrometric microlensing. We have predicted that ER 8 will
pass very close to a 15th-mag background star in January 2006, with an
impact parameter of less than 0.05 arcsec. As it passes in front, it
will cause a deflection of the background star's image by 8
milliarcsec, an amount easily detectable with HST/FGS. The
gravitational deflection angle depends only on the distances and
relative positions of the stars, and on the mass of the white dwarf.
Since the distances and positions can be determined precisely before
the event, the astrometric measurement offers a unique and direct
method to measure the mass of the white dwarf to high accuracy {5%}.
Unlike all other stellar mass determinations, this technique works for
single stars {but only if they are nearby and of sufficient mass}. The
mass of ER 8 is of special interest because it is a member of the
Galactic halo, and appears to be the oldest known field white dwarf.
This object can thus set a lower limit on the age of the Galactic
halo, but since white-dwarf cooling rates depend on their masses, the
mass is a necessary ingredient in the age determination. As a
byproduct, we will obtain an accurate parallax for ER 8, and thus its
luminosity and {from its effective temperature} its radius. Such
quantities are at present rather poorly known for the coolest white
dwarfs, and will provide strong constraints on white-dwarf physics.

ACS/HRC 10516

Host Galaxies of Reverberation-Mapped AGNs

We propose to obtain unsaturated ACS high-resolution images of four
reverberation-mapped active galactic nuclei in order to remove the
point-like nuclear light from each image, thus yielding a
"nucleus-free" image of the host galaxy. This will allow investigation
of host galaxy properties: our particular interest is determination of
the host-galaxy starlight contribution to the reverberation-mapping
observations. This is necessary {1} for accurate determination of the
relationship between the AGN nuclear continuum flux and the size of
the broad Balmer-line emitting regions of AGNs, which is important
because this relationship is used in estimating black hole masses for
large samples of QSOs, and {2} for accurate determination of the
bolometric luminosity of the AGN proper. In a Cycle 12 SNAP program,
we obtained images of 14 of the 36 reverberation-mapped AGNs for this
purpose. This additional request is to complete this program through
observations of the four important remaining sources.

ACS/HRC 10545

Icy planetoids of the outer solar system

Early HST studies of satellites of Kuiper belt object focussed on the
50-200 km objects that were the largest known at the time. In the past
3 years we have discovered a population of much more rare and much
larger {500-2000+ km} icy planetoids in the Kuiper belt. These objects
are the largest and brightest known in the Kuiper belt and, in the era
when we now know of more than 1000 Kuiper belt objects, these few
planetoids are likely to be the focus of much of the research on
physical properties of the outer solar system for years to come. We
are currently engaged in an intensive program involving Spitzer, Keck,
and other telescopes to study the physical and dynamical properties of
this new population. HST is uniquely capable of addressing one
parameter fundamental to completing the physical picture of these
planetoids: the existence and size of any satellites. The detection
and characterization of satellites to these large planetoids would
allow us to address unique issues critical to the formation and
evolution of the outer solar system, including the measurement of
densities, internal properties, sizes and shapes of these objects, the
study of binary formation as a function of primary size, and the
context of the Pluto-Charon binary. For these bright objects, a
satellite search takes less than a full orbit, allowing the
opportunity for a new project on UV spectroscopy of the planetoids to
piggyback at no added time cost. This poorly explored spectral range
has the potential to show unique signatures of trapped gasses,
cosmochemically important ices, and complex organic materials.

ACS/HRC 10606

Ultraviolet Snapshots of 3CR Radio Galaxies

Radio galaxies are an important class of extragalactic objects: they
are one of the most energetic astrophysical phenomena and they provide
an exceptional probe of the evolving Universe, lying typically in high
density regions but well-represented across a wide redshift range. In
earlier Cycles we carried out extensive HST observations of the 3CR
sources in order to acquire a complete and quantitative inventory of
the structure, contents and evolution of these important objects.
Amongst the results, we discovered new optical jets, dust lanes,
face-on disks with optical jets, and revealed point-like nuclei whose
properties support FR-I/BL Lac unified schemes. Here, we propose to
obtain ACS NUV images of 3CR sources with z0.3 as a major enhancement
to an already superb dataset. We aim to reveal dust in galaxies,
regions of star and star cluster formation frequently associated with
dust and establish the physical characteristics of the dust itself. We
will measure frequency and spectral energy distributions of point-like
nuclei, seek spectral turnovers in known synchrotron jets and find new
jets. We will strongly test unified AGN schemes and merge these data
with existing X-ray to radio observations for significant numbers of
both FR-I and FR-II sources. The resulting database will be an
incredibly valuable resource to the astronomical community for years
to come.

ACS/HRC 10627

A Snapshot Survey of Post-AGB Objects and Proto-Planetary Nebulae

We propose an ACS/HRC snapshot survey of 50 post-AGB sources, objects
which have evolved from the AGB but may or may not become planetary
nebulae {PNe}. This survey will complement existing HST images of
proto-planetary nebulae {PPNe} and PNe in addressing circumstellar
envelope morphology as a function of: 1} the progenitor star mass; 2}
the chemical composition; and 3} evolutionary stage. We will connect
the observed diversity of nebualar shapes with the main physical and
chemical conditions characterizing post-AGB objects, to identify the
mechanism that breaks the symmetry of AGB mass loss. To our knowledge,
no previous HST projects have been specifically designed to address
this issue. From our database of 360 post-AGB candidates, we have
selected approximately 50 targets, none of which have been or are
being observed with HST, to sample different central star masses,
chemical compositions, and evolutionary stages, uniformly across the
sky. These new data will also provide important constraints to a
quantitative analysis of Spitzer Space Telescope {SST} observations
planned for a similar sample of objects. We will model the HST images
and SST spectra using our axisymmetric dust code 2-Dust, to derive
dust density distributions, pole to equator density ratios, dust shell
masses, inclination angles as well as dust composition.

ACS/HRC/WFC 10729

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 Oct, 2 2005- May, 29-2006. The
second half of the program has a different proposal number: 10758.

ACS/WFC 10496

Decelerating and Dustfree: Efficient Dark Energy Studies with
Supernovae and Clusters

We propose a novel HST approach to obtain a dramatically more useful
"dust free" Type Ia supernovae {SNe Ia} dataset than available with
the previous GOODS searches. Moreover, this approach provides a
strikingly more efficient search-and-follow-up that is primarily pre-
scheduled. The resulting dark energy measurements do not share the
major systematic uncertainty at these redshifts, that of the
extinction correction with a prior. By targeting massive galaxy
clusters at z 1 we obtain a five-times higher efficiency in
detection of Type Ia supernovae in ellipticals, providing a
well-understood host galaxy environment. These same deep cluster
images then also yield fundamental calibrations required for future
weak lensing and Sunyaev-Zel'dovich measurements of dark energy, as
well as an entire program of cluster studies. The data will make
possible a factor of two improvement on supernova constraints on dark
energy time variation, and much larger improvement in systematic
uncertainty. They will provide both a cluster dataset and a SN Ia
dataset that will be a longstanding scientific resource.

ACS/WFC 10543

Microlensing in M87 and the Virgo Cluster

Resolving the nature of dark matter is an urgent problem. The results
of the MACHO survey of the Milky Way dark halo toward the LMC indicate
that a significant fraction of the halo consists of stellar mass
objects. The VATT/Columbia survey of M31 finds a similar lens fraction
in the M31 dark halo. We propose a series of observations with ACS
that will provide the most thorough search for microlensing toward
M87, the central elliptical galaxy of the Virgo cluster. This program
is optimized for lenses in the mass range from 0.01 to 1.0 solar
masses. By comparing with archival data, we can detect lenses as
massive as 100 solar masses, such as the remnants of the first stars.
These observations will have at least 15 times more sensitivity to
microlensing than any previous survey, e.g. using WFPC2. This is due
to the factor of 2 larger area, factor of more than 4 more sensitivity
in the I-band, superior pixel scale and longer baseline of
observations. Based on the halo microlensing results in the Milky Way
and M31, we might expect that galaxy collisions and stripping would
populate the overall cluster halo with a large number of stellar mass
objects. This program would determine definitively if such objects
compose the cluster dark matter at the level seen in the Milky Way. A
negative result would indicate that such objects do not populate the
intracluster medium, and may indicate that galaxy harassment is not as
vigorous as expected. We can measure the level of events due to the
M87 halo: this would be the best exploration to date of such a lens
population in an elliptical galaxy. Star-star lensing should also be
detectable. About 20 erupting classical novae will be seen, allowing
to determine the definitive nova rate for this giant elliptical
galaxy. We will determine if our recent HST detection of an M87
globular cluster nova was a fluke, or indicative of a 100x higher rate
of incidence of cataclysmic variables and nova eruptions in globulars
than previously believed. We will examine the populations of variable
stars, and will be able to cleanly separate them from microlensing.

ACS/WFC/NIC3/WFPC2 10530

Probing Evolution And Reionization Spectroscopically {PEARS}

While imaging with HST has gone deep enough to probe the highest
redshifts, e.g. the GOODS survey and the Ultra Deep Field,
spectroscopic identifications have not kept up. We propose an ACS
grism survey to get slitless spectra of all sources in a wide survey
region {8 ACS fields} up to z =27.0 magnitude, and an ultradeep field
in the HUDF reaching sources up to z =28 magnitude. The PEARS survey
will: {1} Find and spectrocopically confirm all galaxies between
z=4-7. {2} Probe the reionization epoch by robustly determining the
luminosity function of galaxies and low luminosity AGNs at z = 4 - 6.
With known redshifts, we can get a local measure of star formation and
ionization rate in case reionization is inhomogeneous. {3} Study
galaxy formation and evolution by finding galaxies in a contiguous
redshift range between 4 z 7, and black hole evolution through a
census of low-luminosity AGNs. {4} Get a robust census of galaxies
with old stellar populations at 1 z 2.5, invaluable for checking
consistency with heirarchical models of galaxy formation. Fitting
these galaxies' spectra will yield age and metallicity estimates. {5}
Study star-formation and galaxy assembly at its peak at 1 z 2 by
identifying emission lines in star-forming galaxies, old populations
showing the 4000A break, and any combination of the two. {6} Constrain
faint white dwarfs in the Galactic halo and thus measure their
contribution to the dark matter halo. {7} Derive spectro-photometric
redshifts by using the grism spectra along with broadband data. This
will be the deepest unbiased spectroscopy yet, and will enhance the
value of the multiwavelength data in UDF and the GOODS fields to the
astronomical community. To this end we will deliver reduced spectra to
the HST archives.

FGS 10610

Astrometric Masses of Extrasolar Planets and Brown Dwarfs

We propose observations with HST/FGS to estimate the astrometric
elements {perturbation orbit semi-major axis and inclination} of
extra-solar planets orbiting six stars. These companions were
originally detected by radial velocity techniques. We have
demonstrated that FGS astrometry of even a short segment of reflex
motion, when combined with extensive radial velocity information, can
yield useful inclination information {McArthur et al. 2004}, allowing
us to determine companion masses. Extrasolar planet masses assist in
two ongoing research frontiers. First, they provide useful boundary
conditions for models of planetary formation and evolution of
planetary systems. Second, knowing that a star in fact has a plantary
mass companion, increases the value of that system to future
extrasolar planet observation missions such as SIM PlanetQuest, TPF,
and GAIA.

WFPC2 10481

HST Observations of Astrophysically Important Visual Binaries

This is a continuation of a project begun in Cycle 7 and continued up
through Cycle 11. The program consists of annual or biannual WFPC2 or
FGS observations of three visual binary stars that will ultimately
yield fundamental astrophysical results, once their orbits and masses
are determined. Our targets are the following: {1} Procyon {P = 41
yr}, for which our first WFPC2 images yielded an extremely accurate
angular separation of the bright F star and its much fainter
white-dwarf companion. Combined with ground-based astrometry of the
bright star, our observation significantly revised downward the
derived masses, and brought Procyon A into excellent agreement with
theoretical evolutionary tracks for the first time. With the continued
monitoring proposed here, we will obtain masses to an accuracy of
better than 1%, providing a testbed for theories of both Sun-like
stars and white dwarfs. {2} G 107-70, a close double white dwarf {P =
19 yr} that promises to add two accurate masses to the tiny handful of
white-dwarf masses that are directly known from dynamical
measurements. {3} Mu Cas {P = 21 yr}, a famous metal-deficient G dwarf
for which accurate masses will lead to the stars' helium contents,
with cosmological implications.

WFPC2 10748

WFPC2 CYCLE 14 Standard Darks

This dark calibration program obtains dark frames every week in order
to provide data for the ongoing calibration of the CCD dark current
rate, and to monitor and characterize the evolution of hot pixels.
Over an extended period these data will also provide a monitor of
radiation damage to the CCDs.

WFPC2 10749

Earth Flats

This proposal monitors flatfield stability. This proposal obtains
sequences of Earth streak flats to construct high quality flat fields
for the WFPC2 filter set. These flat fields will allow mapping of the
OTA illumination pattern and will be used in conjuction with previous
internal and external flats to generate new pipeline superflats. These
Earth flats will complement the Earth flat data obtained during cycles
4-13.

WFPC2 10751

WFPC2 CYCLE 14 Intflat Linearity Check and Filter Rotation Anomaly
Monitor

Intflat observations will be taken to provide a linearity check: the
linearity test consists of a series of intflats in F555W, in each gain
and each shutter. A combination of intflats, visflats, and earthflats
will be used to check the repeatability of filter wheel motions.
{Intflat sequences tied to decons, visits 1-18 in prop 10363, have
been moved to the cycle 14 decon proposal 10744 for easier
scheduling.} Note: long-exposure WFPC2 intflats must be scheduled
during ACS anneals to prevent stray light from the WFPC2 lamps from
contaminating long ACS external exposures.

WFPC2 10778

WFPC2 WF4 Supplemental Darks

An anomaly has been found in images from the WF4 CCD in WFPC2. The WF4
CCD bias level appears to have become unstable, resulting in sporadic
images with either low or zero bias level. The severity and frequency
of the problem is rapidly increasing, and it is possible that WF4 will
soon become unusable if no work-around is found. The other three CCDs
{PC1, WF2, and WF3} appear to be unaffected and continue to operate
properly. These darks are to supplement those in program 10748 to
ensure sufficient dark frames for routine calibration. As the WF4
anomaly grows worse, we are beginning to see episodes where too many
darks are corrupted and are unusable.

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: (None)

COMPLETED OPS NOTES: (None)

SCHEDULED SUCCESSFUL
FGS GSacq 10 10
FGS REacq 05 05
OBAD with Maneuver 26 26

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS: (None)


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