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Daily Report #4502



 
 
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Old December 7th 07, 03:41 PM posted to sci.astro.hubble
Cooper, Joe
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Default Daily Report #4502

HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE - Continuing to collect World Class Science

DAILY REPORT***** # 4502

PERIOD COVERED: UT December 7, 2007 (DOY 341)

OBSERVATIONS SCHEDULED

WFPC2 10787

Modes of Star Formation and Nuclear Activity in an Early Universe
Laboratory

Nearby compact galaxy groups are uniquely suited to exploring the
mechanisms of star formation amid repeated and ongoing gravitational
encounters, conditions similar to those of the high redshift universe.
These dense groups host a variety of modes of star formation, and they
enable fresh insights into the role of gas in galaxy evolution. With
Spitzer mid-IR observations in hand, we have begun to obtain high
quality, multi-wavelength data for a well- defined sample of 12 nearby
{4500km/s} compact groups covering the full range of evolutionary
stages. Here we propose to obtain sensitive BVI images with the
ACS/WFC, deep enough to reach the turnover of the globular cluster
luminosity function, and WFPC2 U-band and ACS H-alpha images of
Spitzer-identified regions hosting the most recent star formation. In
total, we expect to detect over 1000 young star clusters forming
inside and outside galaxies, more than 4000 old globular clusters in
40 giant galaxies {including 16 early-type galaxies}, over 20 tidal

features, approximately 15 AGNs, and intragroup gas in most of the 12
groups. Combining the proposed ACS images with Chandra observations,
UV GALEX observations, ground-based H-alpha imaging, and HI data, we
will conduct a detailed study of stellar nurseries, dust, gas
kinematics, and AGN.

NIC1 10889

The Nature of the Halos and Thick Disks of Spiral Galaxies

We propose to resolve the extra-planar stellar populations of the
thick disks and halos of seven nearby, massive, edge-on galaxies using
ACS, NICMOS, and WFPC2 in parallel. These observations will provide
accurate star counts and color-magnitude diagrams 1.5 magnitudes below
the tip of the Red Giant Branch sampled along the two principal axes
and one intermediate axis of each galaxy. We will measure the
metallicity distribution functions and stellar density profiles from
star counts down to very low average surface brightnesses, equivalent
to ~32 V-mag per square arcsec. These observations will provide the
definitive HST study of extra-planar stellar populations of spiral
galaxies. Our targets cover a range in galaxy mass, luminosity, and
morphology and as function of these galaxy properties we will provide:
- The first systematic study of the radial and isophotal shapes of the
diffuse stellar halos of spiral galaxies - The most detailed
comparative study to date of thick disk morphologies and stellar
populations - A comprehensive analysis of halo and thick disk
metallicity distributions as a function of galaxy type and position
within the galaxy. - A sensitive search for tidal streams - The first
opportunity to directly relate globular cluster systems to their field
stellar population We will use these fossil records of the galaxy
assembly process preserved in the old stellar populations to test halo
and thick disk formation models within the hierarchical galaxy
formation scheme. We will test LambdaCDM predictions on sub-galactic
scales, where it is difficult to test using CMB and galaxy redshift
surveys, and where it faces its most serious difficulties.

NIC1/NIC2/NIC3 8794

NICMOS Post-SAA calibration - CR Persistence Part 5

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 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 images. Each observation will need its
own CRMAP, as different SAA passages leave different imprints on the
NICMOS detectors.

NIC2 11157

NICMOS Imaging Survey of Dusty Debris Around Nearby Stars Across the
Stellar Mass Spectrum

Association of planetary systems with dusty debris disks is now quite
secure, and advances in our understanding of planet formation and
evolution can be achieved by the identification and characterization
of an ensemble of debris disks orbiting a range of central stars with
different masses and ages. Imaging debris disks in starlight scattered
by dust grains remains technically challenging so that only about a
dozen systems have thus far been imaged. A further advance in this
field needs an increased number of imaged debris disks. However, the
technical challenge of such observations, even with the superb
combination of HST and NICMOS, requires the best targets. Recent HST
imaging investigations of debris disks were sample-limited not limited
by the technology used. We performed a search for debris disks from a
IRAS/Hipparcos cross correlation which involved an exhaustive
background contamination check to weed out false excess stars. Out of
~140 identified debris disks, we selected 22 best targets in terms of
dust optical depth and disk angular size. Our target sample represents
the best currently available target set in terms of both disk
brightness and resolvability. For example, our targets have higher
dust optical depth, in general, than newly identified Spitzer disks.
Also, our targets cover a wider range of central star ages and masses
than previous debris disk surveys. This will help us to investigate
planetary system formation and evolution across the stellar mass
spectrum. The technical feasibility of this program in two-gyro mode
guiding has been proven with on- orbit calibration and science
observations during HST cycles 13, 14, and 15.

WFPC2 11084

Probing the Least Luminous Galaxies in the Local Universe

We propose to obtain deep color-magnitude data of eight new Local
Group galaxies which we recently discovered: Andromeda XI, Andromeda
XII, and Andromeda XIII {satellites of M31}; Canes Venatici I, Canes
Venatici II, Hercules, and Leo IV {satellites of the Milky Way}; and
Leo T, a new "free-floating" Local Group dwarf spheroidal with
evidence for recent star formation and associated H I gas. These
represent the least luminous galaxies known at *any* redshift, and are
the only accessible laboratories for studying this extreme regime of
galaxy formation. With deep WFPC-2 F606W and F814W pointings at their
centers, we will determine whether these objects contain single or
multiple age stellar populations, as well as whether these objects
display a range of metallicities.

WFPC2 11130

AGNs with Intermediate-mass Black Holes: Testing the Black Hole-Bulge
Paradigm, Part II

The recent progress in the study of central black holes in galactic
nuclei has led to a general consensus that supermassive {10^6-10^9
solar mass} black holes are closely connected with the formation and
evolutionary history of large galaxies, especially their bulge
component. Two outstanding issues, however, remain unresolved. Can
central black holes form in the absence of a bulge? And does the mass
function of central black holes extend below 10^6 solar masses?
Intermediate-mass black holes {10^6 solar masses}, if they exist, may
offer important clues to the nature of the seeds of supermassive black
holes. Using the SDSS, our group has successfully uncovered a new
population of AGNs with intermediate-mass black holes that reside in
low-luminosity galaxies. However, very little is known about the
detailed morphologies or structural parameters of the host galaxies
themselves, including the crucial question of whether they have bulges
or not. Surprisingly, the majority of the targets of our Cycle 14
pilot program have structural properties similar to dwarf elliptical
galaxies. The statistics from this initial study, however, are really
too sparse to reach definitive conclusions on this important new class
of black holes. We wish to extend this study to a larger sample, by
using the Snapshot mode to obtain WFPC2 F814W images from a parent
sample of 175 AGNs with intermediate-mass black holes selected from
our final SDSS search. We are particularly keen to determine whether
the hosts contain bulges, and if so, how the fundamental plane
properties of the host depend on the mass of their central black
holes. We will also investigate the environment of this unique class
of AGNs.

WFPC2 11178

Probing Solar System History with Orbits, Masses, and Colors of
Transneptunian Binaries

The recent discovery of numerous transneptunian binaries {TNBs} opens
a window into dynamical conditions in the protoplanetary disk where
they formed as well as the history of subsequent events which sculpted
the outer Solar System and emplaced them onto their present day
heliocentric orbits. To date, at least 47 TNBs have been discovered,
but only about a dozen have had their mutual orbits and separate
colors determined, frustrating their use to investigate numerous
important scientific questions. The current shortage of data
especially cripples scientific investigations requiring statistical
comparisons among the ensemble characteristics. We propose to obtain
sufficient astrometry and photometry of 23 TNBs to compute their
mutual orbits and system masses and to determine separate primary and
secondary colors, roughly tripling the sample for which this
information is known, as well as extending it to include systems of
two near-equal size bodies. To make the most efficient possible use of
HST, we will use a Monte Carlo technique to optimally schedule our
observations.

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.

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*************** 08**************** 08
FGS REacq*************** 07**************** 07
OBAD with Maneuver ***** 30**************** 30

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS: (None)


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