This week on HST

HST Programs: October 26 - November 1, 2009

HST resumed science observations with WFC3, COS, STIS, ACS and the FGS after an anomaly in the SIC&DH affected observations on October 23 & 24.

Program Number Principal Investigator Program Title Links
11144 Richard Bouwens, University of California, Santa Cruz Building on the Significant NICMOS Investment in GOODS: A Bright, Wide-Area Search for z>=7 Galaxies Abstract
11205 James Muzerolle, University of Arizona The Effects of Multiplicity on the Evolution of Young Stellar Objects: A NICMOS Imaging Study Abstract
11208 Tommaso L. Treu, University of California - Santa Barbara The co-evolution of spheroids and black holes in the last six billion years Abstract
11360 Robert W. O'Connell, The University of Virginia Star Formation in Nearby Galaxies Abstract
11548 S. Thomas Megeath, University of Toledo NICMOS Imaging of Protostars in the Orion A Cloud: The Role of Environment in Star Formation Abstract
11565 Sebastien Lepine, American Museum of Natural History A search for astrometric companions to very low-mass, Population II stars Abstract
11567 Charles R. Proffitt, Computer Sciences Corporation Boron Abundances in Rapidly Rotating Early-B Stars. Abstract
11572 David Kent Sing, CNRS, Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris Charaterizing Atmospheric Sodium in the Transiting hot-Jupiter HD189733b Abstract
11589 Oleg Y. Gnedin, University of Michigan Hypervelocity Stars as Unique Probes of the Galactic Center and Outer Halo Abstract
11594 John M. O'Meara, Saint Michaels College A WFC3 Grism Survey for Lyman limit absorption at z=2 Abstract
11625 Ivan Hubeny, University of Arizona Beyond the classical paradigm of stellar winds: Investigating clumping, rotation and the weak wind problem in SMC O stars Abstract
11644 Michael E. Brown, California Institute of Technology A dynamical-compositional survey of the Kuiper belt: a new window into the formation of the outer solar system Abstract
11666 Adam J. Burgasser, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Chilly Pairs: A Search for the Latest-type Brown Dwarf Binaries and the Prototype Y Dwarf Abstract
11670 Peter Garnavich, University of Notre Dame The Host Environments of Type Ia Supernovae in the SDSS Survey Abstract
11689 Renato A. Dupke, University of Michigan Direct Observations of Dark Matter from a Second Bullet: The Spectacular Abell 2744 Abstract
11704 Brian Chaboyer, Dartmouth College The Ages of Globular Clusters and the Population II Distance Scale Abstract
11719 Julianne Dalcanton, University of Washington A Calibration Database for Stellar Models of Asymptotic Giant Branch Stars Abstract
11730 Nitya Jacob Kallivayalil, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Continued Proper Motions of the Magellanic Clouds: Orbits, Internal Kinematics, and Distance Abstract
11732 C. S. Kochanek, The Ohio State University Research Foundation The Temperature Profiles of Quasar Accretion Disks Abstract
11788 George Fritz Benedict, University of Texas at Austin The Architecture of Exoplanetary Systems Abstract
11790 John Wisniewski, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center HST/FGS Astrometric Search for Young Planets Around Beta Pic and AU Mic Abstract

Selected highlights

GO 11144: Building on the Significant NICMOS Investment in GOODS: A Bright, Wide-Area Search for z>=7 Galaxies

Part of the GOODS/Chandra Deep Field South field, as imaged by HST The Great Observatory Origins Deep Survey (GOODS) is a multi-wavelength survey that covers two 150 sq. arcmin. fields, centred on the northern Hubble Deep Field (HDF) in Ursa Major and the Chandra Deep Field-South in Fornax. In addition to deep HST data at optical and near-infrared wavelengths, the fields have been covered at X-ray wavelengths by Chandra (obviously) and XMM-Newton; at mid-infrared wavelengths with Spitzer; and ground-based imaging and spectroscopy using numerous telescopes, including the Kecks, Surbaru and the ESO VLT. The prime aim of the GOODS program is to reconstruct the history of galaxy formation, star formation and nuclear galactic activity from the epoch of reionisation to the present. The present HST program builds on past results and aims to push observations to the highest redshifts, searching for galaxies at z > 7. Previously obtained GOODS data have been used to identify z-H dropouts - objects visible on F160W NICMOS images, but not on F098 ACS images. WFC3 will be used to obtain much deeper images of the final candidates in the J-band (F110W filter) to confirm whether the fluxes are consistent with 7 < z < 8 star-forming galaxies.

GO 11594: A WFC3 Grism Survey for Lyman limit absorption at z=2

HRC grism image of SN 1987A, as displayed in the Hubble Legacy Archive Grisms are optical components with finely ruled gratings that canbe introduced into the beam of an imaging camera to produce low-resolution spectra of objects within the field of view. Wide Field Camera 3 on HST has three such components: an ultraviolet grism, G280, providing spectroscopy from ~2100 to 3900 Angstroms; and two grisms, G102 and G141, for use at near-infrared wavelengths. The present program aims to use the UV grism to search for galaxies at redshifts in the range 1.8 < z < 2.5. The observations target 64 quasars, drawn from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, that have absorption features that are characteristic of that redshift range. Those features are likely due to foreground galaxies, whose extended gaseous halos absorb light from the QSO. The grism data will used to search for sources with emission lines that indciate that they are at the appropriate redshift.

GO 11666: Chilly Pairs: A Search for the Latest-type Brown Dwarf Binaries and the Prototype Y Dwarf

NICMOS images of the ultracool L/T binary, 2MASS J22521073-1730134; the northern component, notably fainter at F160W, is the T dwarf. Ultracool dwarfs are defined as having spectral types later than M7, and therefore include the recently discovered L and T dwarfs. They encompass the lowest mass stars (masses < ~0.1 MSub) and sub-stellar mass brown dwarfs, with surface temperatures ranging from ~2500K (~M7) to <700K (late-type T dwarfs). Following their discovery over a decade ago, considerable theoretical attention has focused on the evolution of the intrinsic properties, particularly the details of the atmospheric changes in the evolution from type L to type T. This point marks the emergence of methane as a dominant absorber at near-infrared wavelengths. Current models suggest the transition occurs at ~1400-1200K, and that the spectral changes are at least correlated with, and perhaps driven by, the distribution and properties of dust layers ("clouds") within the atmosphere. The overall timescales associated with the process remain unclear. The present proposal aims to tackle this issue through identifying, and characterising, ultracool binary systems with extremely cool components. Since these systems are almost certainly coeval, the relative spectral energy distributions of the two components can be used to set constraints on evolutionary models. More than 80 ultracool binary systems are currently known; almost all have relatively small linear separations (<15 AU), and components with mass ratios close to one. The present program targets 27 ultracool dwarfs with spectral types in the range T5 to T9, and will use WFC3 IR observations to search for previously unrecognised close, faint companions.

GO 11788: The Architecture of Exoplanetary Systems

Artist's impression of a young planetary system Immanuel Kant is generally credited with first proposing that the planets in the Solar System coalesced from a flat, rotating disk formed by the Solar Nebula. Direct confirmation of that process only came in the early 1990s, when millimetre-wave interferometers were able to detect molecular gas in Keplerian rotation around a handful of nearby young stars. Since then, there have been numerous other observations, including Hubble's images of proplyds (protoplanetary disks) in the Orion Cluster, and Hubble and Spitzer observations of edge-on disks in other young stars. One of the clear selling points of the Solar Nebula disk model is that it appears to offer a natural path to forming planets with coplanar orbits, matching (most of) our observations of the Solar System. On the other hand, as our knowledge of exoplanetary systems has accumulated over the last decade, it has become clear that dynamical interactions may play a very important role in the evolution of these systems. In particular, disk/planet interactions are generally regarded as responsible for the inward migration of gas giants to form hot Jupiters in <3 day period orbits. Planet-planet interactions could lead to significant changes in orbital inclination. Radial velocity planet searches are uncovering more and more multi-planet systems. This program focuses the high precision of HST's astrometric detectors, the Fine Guidance Sensors, on four of those systems. The aim is to complement the existing radial velocity measurements with sub-milliarcsecond precision astrometry, allowing determination of the true orbital paths - specifically, the relative inclination - of the low-mass objects in these systems.

Past weeks:
page by Neill Reid, updated 23/10/2009