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Daily #4063



 
 
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Old March 6th 06, 02:49 PM posted to sci.astro.hubble
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Default Daily #4063

HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE - Continuing to collect World Class Science

DAILY REPORT #4063

PERIOD COVERED: UT March 03,04,05, 2006 (DOY 062,063,064)

OBSERVATIONS SCHEDULED

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.

ACS/WFC 10775

An ACS Survey of Galactic Globular Clusters

We propose to conduct an ACS/WFC imaging survey of Galactic globular
clusters. We will construct the most extensive and deepest set of
photometry and astrometry to-date for these systems reaching a main
sequence mass of ~0.2 solar mass with S/N = 10. We will combine these
data with archival WFPC2 and STIS images to determine proper motions
for the stars in our fields. The resultant cleaned cluster CMDs will
allow us to study a variety of scientific questions. These include
[but are not limited to] 1} the determination of cluster ages and
distances 2} the construction of main sequence mass functions and the
issue of mass segregation 3} the internal motions and dynamical
evolution of globular clusters, and 4} absolute cluster motions,
orbits, and the Milky Way gravitational potential. We anticipate that
the unique resource provided by the proposed treasury archive will
play a central role in the field of globular cluster studies for
decades, with a stature comparable to that of the Hubble Deep Field
for high redshift studies.

WFPC2 10746

WFPC2 Cycle 14 CTE Monitor

Monitor CTE changes during Cycle 14. Test for chip-to-chip differences
in CTE

ACS/HRC/WFC 10737

CCD Stability Monitor

This program will verify that the low frequency flat fielding, the
photometry, and the geometric distortion are stable in time and across
the field of view of the CCD detectors. A moderately crowded stellar
field in the cluster 47 Tuc is observed every three months with the
HRC {at the cluster core} and WFC {6' West of the cluster core} using
the full suite of broad and narrow band imaging filters. The positions
and magnitudes of objects will be used to monitor local and large
scale variations in the plate scale and the sensitivity of the
detectors and to derive an independent measure of the detector CTE. An
additional orbit is required to compare WFC observations taken at gain
1 with those taken at the new default gain 2.

ACS/HRC/WFC 10733

CCD Hot Pixel Annealing

Hot pixel annealing will continue to be performed once every 4 weeks.
The CCD TECs will be turned off and heaters will be activated to bring
the detector temperatures to about +20C. This state will be held for
approximately 6 hours, after which the heaters are turned off, the
TECs turned on, and the CCDs returned to normal operating condition.
To assess the effectiveness of the annealing, a bias and four dark
images will be taken before and after the annealing procedure for both
WFC and HRC. The HRC darks are taken in parallel with the WFC darks.
The charge transfer efficiency {CTE} of the ACS CCD detectors declines
as damage due to on-orbit radiation exposure accumulates. This
degradation has been closely monitored at regular intervals, because
it is likely to determine the useful lifetime of the CCDs. We combine
the annealling activity with the charge transfer efficiency monitoring
and also merge into the routine dark image collection. To this end,
the CTE monitoring exposures have been moved into this proposal . All
the data for this program is acquired using internal targets {lamps}
only, so all of the exposures should be taken during Earth occultation
time {but not during SAA passages}. This program emulates the ACS
pre-flight ground calibration and post-launch SMOV testing {program
8948}, so that results from each epoch can be directly compared.
Extended Pixel Edge Response {EPER} and First Pixel Response {FPR}
data will be obtained over a range of signal levels for both the Wide
Field Channel {WFC}, and the High Resolution Channel {HRC}.

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 10595

A Reference Database for Accurate Ages and Metallicities of Globular
Clusters in the Magellanic Clouds

We propose to finalize the compilation of a comprehensive database of
high-quality ages and metallicities of Simple Stellar Populations
{SSPs} in the Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds. We will acquire new
ACS imagery for 8 young and intermediate-age globular clusters in the
Magellanic Clouds to create high-quality color-magnitude diagrams
{CMDs} to enable accurate measurements of their ages and
metallicities. In concert with a similar analysis of CMD data already
available in the HST archive for 8 more such GCs, the resulting
database will provide a well-sampled coverage of the full range of
ages and metallicities known among globular clusters {0.5 = Age {Gyr}
= 13.5 and -2.3 = [Fe/H] = +0.1, respectively}. This database will
form the crucial basis for our ongoing, comprehensive multi-wavelength
program to: {1} establish empirical relations among SSP colors {from
the UV [GALEX] through the mid-IR [Spitzer]}, line strengths, ages and
metallicities, and {2} provide a stringent test of the systemic
accuracy of age and metallicity determinations using state-of-the-art
population synthesis models.

NIC2 10560

Confirming Planetary Candidates in the Stellar Graveyard with NICMOS

We propose to follow up planetary candidates imaged near the white
dwarf WD 1620-391 with second epoch images from NICMOS. This white
dwarf was imaged during Cycle 12 as part of a campaign to detect
massive planetary companions to nearby white dwarfs with photospheric
metal line absorption. While at a low galactic latitude, a puzzling
excess of objects are present 4", suggesting the possiblity of
objects physically associated with the white dwarf. With second epoch
information we can test these candidates for common proper motion, a
test for physical association. If any of these candidates are
confirmed, they will be consistent with 6-10 M$_{Jup}$ companions at
projected orbital separations of between 25-50 AU.

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.

FGS 10480

Parallaxes of Extreme Halo Subgiants: Calibrating Globular Cluster
Distances and the Ages of the Oldest

The ages of the oldest stars are a key constraint on the evolution of
our Galaxy, the history of star formation, and cosmological models.
These ages are usually determined from globular clusters. However, it
is alternatively possible to determine ages of extreme Population II
subgiants in the solar neighborhood based on trigonometric parallaxes,
without any recourse to clusters. This approach completely avoids the
vexing issues of cluster distances, reddenings, and chemical
compositions. There are 3 known nearby, extremely metal-deficient Pop
II subgiants with Hipparcos parallax errors of 6-11% which are
available for such age determinations. At present, based on the latest
isochrones, the derived ages of these stars {HD 84937, HD 132475, and
HD 140283} are all close to 14 Gyr, uncomfortably close to or higher
than current estimates of the age of the universe. However, the errors
in the Hipparcos parallaxes imply uncertainties of at least 2 Gyr in
the ages of the 3 stars. We propose to measure parallaxes of these
three Pop II subgiants using HST's Fine Guidance Sensor 1R. We expect
to reduce the Hipparcos parallax error bars by factors of 5-6,
providing the most stringent test yet of current theoretical stellar
models of Pop II stars and pushing the age uncertainties to below 0.5
Gyr. These data will also provide a major new constraint on the
distance scale of globular clusters, with wide implications for
stellar evolution and the calibration of Pop II standard candles. The
ages of the oldest stars are a key constraint on the evolution of our
Galaxy, the history of star formation, and cosmological models. These
ages are usually determined from globular clusters. However, it is
alternatively possible to determine ages of extreme Population II
subgiants in the solar neighborhood based on trigonometric parallaxes,
without any recourse to clusters. This approach completely avoids the
vexing issues of cluster distances, reddenings, and chemical
compositions. There are 3 known nearby, extremely metal- deficient Pop
II subgiants with Hipparcos parallax errors of 6-11% which are
available for such age determinations. At present, based on the latest
isochrones, the derived ages of these stars {HD 84937, HD 132475, and
HD 140283} are all close to 14 Gyr, uncomfortably close to or higher
than current estimates of the age of the universe. However, the errors
in the Hipparcos parallaxes imply uncertainties of at least 2 Gyr in
the ages of the 3 stars. We propose to measure parallaxes of these
three Pop II subgiants using HST's Fine Guidance Sensor 1R. We expect
to reduce the Hipparcos parallax error bars by factors of 5-6,
providing the most stringent test yet of current theoretical stellar
models of Pop II stars and pushing the age uncertainties to below 0.5
Gyr. These data will also provide a major new constraint on the
distance scale of globular clusters, with wide implications for
stellar evolution and the calibration of Pop II standard candles.

ACS/WFC 10475

An ACS H-alpha Survey of the Carina Nebula

We propose an H-alpha ACS imaging survey covering 540 square
arcminutes of the Carina Nebula, including an unbiased survey of the
bright core, and several prominent dust pillars in the rich southern
region of the nebula. Carina provides an important link between
well-studied nearby H II regions like Orion, and more distant
mini-starbusts like 30 Doradus. CVZ orbits will allow extremely
efficient use of HST to map a large area of this complex and important
region -- more than 95 percent of the proposed survey will be observed
by HST for the first time. This survey will provide a complete census
of microjets, proplyds, and silhouette disks with diameters as small
as 200 AU, enough to spatially resolve disks like those in Orion, and
will provide the first catalog of outflows {jets} from embedded
low-mass stars, thin filamentary shocks, and wind-wind collisions in
Carina. An accurate census of these phenomena is needed to
characterize the star formation activity and gas dynamics as a
function of position in the nebula, and to determine if models for
protoplanetary disk evaporation from Orion are applicable in more
extreme regions. Our previous ground-based optical and IR surveys have
already revealed dozens of candidates for this type of activity -- but
this is just the tip of the iceberg. Our proposed HST/ACS survey
promises to be a bonanza for understanding ongoing low-mass star
formation influenced by extremely high-mass stars.

NIC2 10418

Morphologies and Color Gradients of Galaxies with the Oldest Stellar
Populations at High Redshifts

We have isolated a sample of 9 luminous {~2L*} galaxies with the very
oldest stellar populations at their respective redshifts. The galaxies
have been found in radio-source fields chosen to be at the key
redshifts z~1.5 and z~2.5, which allow the cleanest separation of old
stellar populations from highly reddened starbursts with colors
derived from standard filter combinations. Ground-based observations
in excellent seeing and with adaptive optics of 3 of these galaxies
indicate that all 3 are dominated by well relaxed disks of old stars,
suggesting that the first large stellar systems to form in the
universe were disks in which star formation proceeded extremely
rapidly and efficiently. In order to test this conjecture, we are
requesting NICMOS2 exposures of our sample to obtain high S/N imaging
in the F160W filter to determine detailed morphologies of the old
stellar population, coupled with either NICMOS2 F110W or ACS F814W
exposures {depending on redshift} to determine color gradients and/or
other systematic color variations that might provide clues to
formation processes.

ACS/SBC 10231

Tracing the Reionization History of Intergalactic Helium out to
Redshift 3.8

We have found He II absorption in a quasar at redshift 3.82 via our
Cycle 12 program of UV snapshots. This is the highest redshift yet at
which He II absorption has been observed, and we propose to study
helium ionization in the IGM along this new, long, unobscured
sightline to high- redshift. The object has UV flux comparable to that
of the rare handful of other z3 quasars known to be suitable for
helium studies, and it is also in the Continuous Viewing Zone. The
proposed spectrum will allow us to study the evolution and properties
of the IGM and ionizing radiation from z=3.8 {the IGM environment near
the quasar} all the way down to z=2.8. This redshift range may span
the epoch of helium reionization, and even extends to high enough
redshift to enable improved helium opacity measures using both He II
Ly-alpha and Ly-beta. This program is now approved to use ACS prism.

NIC2 10173

Infrared 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 NICMOS infrared images of 3CR sources with z0.3 as a major
enhancement to an already superb dataset. We aim to deshroud dusty
galaxies, study the underlying host galaxy free from the distorting
effects of dust, locate hidden regions of star formation and establish
the physical characteristics of the dust itself. We will measure
frequency and spectral energy distributions of point-like nuclei,
expected to be stronger and more prevalent in the IR, 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. The resulting database will be an
incredibly valuable resource to the astronomical community for years
to come.

NIC1 10143

Ultracool companions to the nearest L dwarfs

We propose to conduct the most sensitive survey to date for low mass
companions to nearby L dwarfs. We will use NICMOS to image targets
drawn from a volume-complete sample of 70 L dwarfs within 20 parsecs.
The combination of infrared imaging and proximity will allow us to
search for T dwarf companions at separations as small as 1.6 AU. This
is crucial, since no ultracool binaries are currently known with
separations exceeding 15 AU. Only 10 dwarfs in this sample have
previous HST observations primarily at optical wavelengths. With the
increased sensitivity of our survey, we will provide the most
stringent test to date of brown dwarf models which envisage formation
as ejected stellar embryos. In addition, our observations will be
capable of detecting binaries with mass ratios as low as 0.3, and will
therefore also test the apparent preference for equal-mass ultracool
binaries. Finally, our observations offer the best prospect to date of
detecting companions significantly cooler than the coolest t dwarf
currently known.

FLIGHT OPERATIONS SUMMARY:

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

HSTARS:

10158 - GSAcq (1,2,2) failed due to search radius limit exceeded on
FGS 1 @ 063/01:00:39z

At acquisition of signal GSAcq (1,2,2) scheduled for 063/00:19:44
showed failed due to search radius limit exceeded on FGS 1. Additional
ESB a05 (FGS Course Track failed - Search Radius Limit Exceeded) was
received @ 00:24:07. OBAD 1: V1 104.68, V2 1085.43, V3 -605.82, RSS
1247.45 OBAD 2: V1 -2.08, V2 0.61, V3 11.18, RSS 11.39 OBAD MAP: V1
-251.83, V2 1168.97, V3 59.00, RSS 1197.25

COMPLETED OPS REQUEST: (None)

COMPLETED OPS NOTES: (None)

SCHEDULED SUCCESSFUL FAILURE TIMES
FGS GSacq 22 21 Hstar # 10158
FGS REacq 18 18
OBAD with Maneuver 74 74

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS: (None)

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