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NICMOS STScI Analysis Newsletter 31

| STScI Analysis Newsletter
| March 2004
Visit the NICMOS web site
"New in the Last 45 Days" for all new information about NICMOS.


-NICMOS UDF Data Released

-Cycle 13 TAC/Panel Meetings

-HST Pure Parallel Observations

-NICMOS Recovered from Intel Exception

-NICMOS Calibration Plan

-New NICMOS Exposure Time Calculator

-NICMOS Focus Monitor

-New IDL Cosmic Ray Persistence Routine

-Recent NICMOS Publications


NICMOS UDF Data Released

A. Schultz

The final reduced images, object catalogs, and ancillary
files from the Hubble Space Telescope Ultra Deep Field
(HUDF) program have been released and are available from the
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), the European
Coordinating Facility (ST-ECF), and the Canadian Astronomy
Data Centre (CADC).  The science products include the 
primary ACS WFC observations, the NICMOS images obtained
under the Cycle 12 Treasury program 9803, and the NICMOS
and ACS HRC parallel images taken with the ACS WFC images.

NICMOS HUDF Treasury and parallel data were obtained in the
F110W (J) and F160W (H) filters.  Two parallel fields were
observed with NICMOS due to the slightly different ORIENT
(roll angles) during each of the two UDF epochs. Both pairs
of NICMOS parallel fields fall outside the GOODS field,
but both fall within the area covered by the GEMS survey.


Cycle 13 TAC/Panel Meetings

B. Blacker

The Cycle 13 proposal review panels and TAC will meet the
week of March 22-26, 2004. The announcement of the TAC
results will be the first week of April 2004.  Notification
comments will be sent April 15th for approved proposals and
the 1st week of May for rejected proposals.

The full results of the Cycle 13 call for proposals will be
reported in a future issue of the STScI Newsletter. A total
of 3,000 HST orbits are available for Cycle 13. STScI
received 949 proposals requesting 17,257 orbits. Requests
by instrument were: ACS 46.3%, FGS 1.8%, NICMOS 16.1%,
STIS 26.2%, and WFPC2 9.7%.


HST Pure Parallel Observations

R. Doxsey

STScI is planning on reducing the amount of pure parallel
data taken with HST in order to reduce the number of on/off
cycles on the S-band Single Access (SSA) transmitters. While
not an immediate threat to the scientific performance of
HST, the SSA transmitters are a key subsystem and their
failure could ultimately limit the observatory lifetime.

The change will go into effect on the April 4, 2004 Science
Mission Specification (SMS).

One Cycle 12 GO pure parallel program (9865) that uses the
NICMOS will continue until the approved number of orbits
are reached.

There is no change with regard to coordinated parallels.
They will continue to be executed as in the past.


NICMOS Recovered from Intel Exception

K. Noll and I. Dashevsky

On Tuesday January 6, 2004 (2004.006:00:01:43 UT), a
software exception could not be serviced by the 80386
processor causing a suspend of NICMOS to occur.  This is a
known bug of the NICMOS flight software (FSW). NICMOS was
recovered to SAA Operate starting at 2004.006:21:48 and
completing at 2004.006:21:58 UT.  Essentially, the reset
button was pushed.  One science observation (ToO) and a few
NICMOS parallel observations did not execute.  The ToO
observation was not rescheduled because the timing window
was lost.

NICMOS was suspended again on Thursday March 4, 2004
(2004.063:19:33:50 UT) and on Wednesday March 10, 2004
(2004.069:14:02:42 UT).  Recovery of NICMOS occurred at
2004.064:05:00:38 UT and 2004.069:18:25 UT, respectively.
During the March 4th suspend, 5 orbits of NICMOS observing
time did not execute and need to be rescheduled.  During
the March 10th suspend, only a few NICMOS parallel
observations did not execute.

The occurrence of software exceptions are random events and
can not be predicted.  The STScI Commanding team has
responded very quickly to notification of a suspend for a
minimum loss of NICMOS science.


NICMOS Calibration Plan

S. Arribas, E. Bergeron, R. de Jong, S. Malhotra, B.
Mobasher, K. Noll, E. Roye, A. Schultz, M. Sosey, T.
Wiklind, and C. Xu

The NICMOS Calibration Plan for Cycle 12 (CPC12) is
progressing as expected.  This plan complements the SMOV3b,
the Cycle 10 (interim), and the Cycle 11 calibration
programs. These previous programs have shown that the
instrument is very stable, which has motivated a reduction
in the frequency of the monitoring programs for CPC12. The
most recent results for Camera 2 (March 2004) show that the
focus continues to remain stable with no need for adjustment.
Flat field count rates for lamp-on filter observations have
also remained consistently stable with the mean variations
within < 1%.

Because of this stable behavior, systematic errors in the
calibration become relatively more important. For this
reason CPC12 includes two programs aimed at reducing such
errors: the photometric and spectroscopic recalibrations,
which are also under progress. The CPC12 also includes an
outsourced calibration program to enable coronagraphic + 
polarimetric observations.

For suggestions about NICMOS calibrations for Cycle 13,
please contact S. Arribas (


New NICMOS Exposure Time Calculator

S. Arribas

A new NICMOS ETC for imaging mode has been developed as part
of the Astronomer's Proposal Toolkit (APT) project. This new
tool fully updates the NICMOS performance for Cycles 11+,
expands the functionality of the previous ETC, providing the
user more options, and homogenizes the non-instrument
specific parameters (i.e. sky background, extinction laws)
with other HST-ETCs. See NICMOS Instrument Science
Report (ISR) titled: "New Exposure Time Calculator for
NICMOS (imaging): Features, Testing, Recommendation."


NICMOS Focus Monitor

E. Roye and T. Wiklind

The results of the focus monitor program (9996) show that
the NICMOS focus continues to remain stable with no need
for adjustment. The frequency of the focus sweeps in each
camera has been changed such that sweeps in NIC1 and NIC2
are bi-monthly and in NIC3 every three months.  The recent
focus sweeps have been: December 2003 NIC1, January 2004
NIC2 and NIC3, February 2004 NIC1, March 2004 NIC2, and for
April 2004 NIC1 and NIC3. The latest focus plots have been
posted on the NICMOS web site.


New IDL Cosmic Ray Persistence Routine

E. Bergeron

A new version of the IDL routine,, used in
the removal of cosmic ray persistence from NICMOS science
data is now available from the NICMOS home web page.  The
software was updated on March 11, 2004. Included in the
updated version are several bug fixes and some necessary
library routines, which are now included by default.  The
IDL routine has been converted into a stand-alone
STSDAS/PYRAF task which is now under testing for release in
the near future.

| Recent NICMOS Publications
There are currently 32 NICMOS refereed publications from
Oct 2003 to March 31, 2004.  Many NICMOS observations were
retrieved from the HST Archive in support of ground-based
and HST observing programs. Some publications reported new
new NICMOS observations as follow up observations to
to existing programs.  One publication of note is the review
of NICMOS coronagraphy.

Fraquelli, D., Schultz, A.B., Bushouse, H., Hart, H.M., and
Vener, P. 2004, "NICMOS Coronagraphy," PASP, 116,, 55-64.

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