This week on HST

HST Programs: January 4, 2010 - January 10, 2010

Program Number Principal Investigator Program Title Links
11149 Eiichi Egami, University of Arizona Characterizing the Stellar Populations in Lyman-Alpha Emitters and Lyman Break Galaxies at 5.7 Abstract
11189 Nial R. Tanvir, University of Leicester Probing the early universe with GRBs Abstract
11205 James Muzerolle, University of Arizona The Effects of Multiplicity on the Evolution of Young Stellar Objects: A NICMOS Imaging Study Abstract
11219 Alessandro Capetti, Osservatorio Astronomico di Torino Active Galactic Nuclei in nearby galaxies: a new view of the origin of the radio-loud radio-quiet dichotomy? Abstract
11360 Robert W. O'Connell, The University of Virginia Star Formation in Nearby Galaxies Abstract
11519 James Green, University of Colorado COS-GTO: Great Wall Tomography Abstract
11526 James Green, University of Colorado COS-GTO: Sampling the Local ISM with hot white dwarfs Abstract
11541 James Green, University of Colorado COS-GTO: COOL, WARM AND HOT GAS IN THE COSMIC WEB AND IN GALAXY HALOS 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
11568 Seth Redfield, Wesleyan University A SNAPSHOT Survey of the Local Interstellar Medium: New NUV Observations of Stars with Archived FUV Observations Abstract
11570 Adam Riess, The Johns Hopkins University & Space Telescope Science Institute Narrowing in on the Hubble Constant and Dark Energy Abstract
11584 Kristin Chiboucas, University of Hawaii Resolving the Smallest Galaxies with ACS Abstract
11594 John M. O'Meara, Saint Michaels College A WFC3 Grism Survey for Lyman limit absorption at z=2 Abstract
11603 Jennifer Andrews, Louisiana State University and A & M College A Comprehensive Study of Dust Formation in Type II Supernovae with HST, Spitzer and Gemini Abstract
11618 Tracy L. Huard, University of Maryland WFC3 Observations of VeLLOs and the Youngest Star Forming Environments 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
11675 Justyn R. Maund, University of Texas at Austin Stellar Forensics: A post-explosion view of the progenitors of core-collapse supernovae Abstract
11684 Roeland P. van der Marel, Space Telescope Science Institute The First Proper Motion Measurement for M31: Dynamics and Mass of the Local Group Abstract
11696 Matthew A. Malkan, University of California - Los Angeles Infrared Survey of Star Formation Across Cosmic Time Abstract
11702 Hao-Jing Yan, Carnegie Institution of Washington Search for Very High-z Galaxies with WFC3 Pure Parallel Abstract
11705 Frederick W. Hamann, University of Florida Physical Properties of Quasar Outflows: From BALs to mini-BALs Abstract
11712 John P. Blakeslee, Dominion Astrophysical Observatory Calibration of Surface Brightness Fluctuations for WFC3/IR Abstract
11714 Howard E. Bond, Space Telescope Science Institute Snapshot Survey for Planetary Nebulae in Local Group Globular Clusters Abstract
11719 Julianne Dalcanton, University of Washington A Calibration Database for Stellar Models of Asymptotic Giant Branch Stars Abstract
11720 Patrick Dufour, University of Arizona Detailed analysis of carbon atmosphere white dwarfs Abstract
11731 C. S. Kochanek, The Ohio State University Research Foundation Studying Cepheid Systematics in M81: H-band Observations Abstract
11735 Filippo Mannucci, INAF - IRA, Firenze The LSD project: dynamics, merging and stellar populations of a sample of well-studied LBGs at z~3 Abstract
11741 Todd Tripp, University of Massachusetts Probing Warm-Hot Intergalactic Gas at 0.5 < z < 1.3 with a Blind Survey for O VI, Ne VIII, Mg X, and Si XII Absorption Systems Abstract
11786 Howard E. Bond, Space Telescope Science Institute HST Observations of Astrophysically Important Visual Binaries Abstract
11817 David Ehrenreich, Universite de Grenoble Detecting the upper atmosphere of a transiting hot Neptune: A feasibility study Abstract
11840 Andrew J. Levan, The University of Warwick Identifying the host galaxies for optically dark gamma-ray bursts Abstract

Selected highlights

GO 11360: Star Formation in Nearby Galaxies

WFC3 image of star forming regions in M83 Star formation remains a (perhaps "the") key astrophysical process in determining the overall evolution of galactic systems. Wide Field Camera 3, the new imaging camera installed in HST during Servicing Mission 4, has two channels, semsitive to UVIS and IR wavelengths respectively, each equipped with a wide range of filters, sampling broad- and narrow-band wavelengths ranges from 2000 Angstroms to 1.7 microns. This panchromatic capability, coupled with the availability of the Advanced Camera for Surveys at visual and red wavelengths, is being being applied to survey active star forming regions in a number of nearby galaxies. The targets include M85, NGC 4150, 30 Doradus in the Large Magellanic Cloud, Centaurus A (NGC 5128) and (pictured above) M83.

GO 11644: A dynamical-compositional survey of the Kuiper belt: a new window into the formation of the outer solar system

A compendium of some of the largest KBOs currently known The Kuiper Belt lies beyond the orbit of Neptune, extending from ~30 AU to ~50 AU from the Sun, and includes at least 70,000 objects with diameters exceeding 100 km. Setting aside Pluto, the first trans-Neptunian objects were discovered in the early 1990s. Most are relatively modest in size, with diameters of a few hundred km and photometric properties that suggested an icy composition, similar to Pluto and its main satellite, Charon. Over the last three years, a handful of substantially larger bodies have been discovered, with diameters of more than 1000 km; one of the objects, 2003 UB313, is comparable in size to Pluto (2320 km.). At the same time, ground-based surveys, such as the Deep Ecliptic Survey, the Canada-France Ecliptic plane Survey and the Palomar Quest Survey, scanned the ecliptic for fainter, lower-mass objects, with the aim of using their properties to assess the likely chemical composition and dynamical history of the early Solar System. The present program will use Wide Field Camera 3 to push up to 2 magnitudes fainter than these ground-based studies, providing reliable estimates of compositions for a representative sample of KBOs.

GO 11696: Infrared Survey of Star Formation Across Cosmic Time

A region of massive star formation Star formation is the key astrophysical process in determining the overall evolution of galactic systems, the generation of heavy elements, and the overall enrichment of interstellar and intergalactic material. Tracing the overall evolution through a wide redshift range is crucial to understanding how gas and stars evolved to form the galaxies that we see around us now. The present program builds on the ability of HST to carry out parallel observations, using more than one instrument. While the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph is focused on obtaining ultraviolet spectra of unparalleled signal-to-noise, this program uses the near-infrared grisms mounted on the Wide-Field Camera 3 infrared channel to obtain low resolution spectra between 1 and 1.6 microns of randomly-selected nearby fields. The goal is to search for emission lines characteristic of star-forming regions. In particular, these observations are capable of detecting Lyman-alpha emission generated by star formation at redshfits z > 5.6. A total of up to 40 "deep" (4-5 orbit) and 20 "shallow" (2-3 orbit) fields will be targeted in the course of this observing campaign.

GO 11712: Calibration of Surface Brightness Fluctuations for WFC3/IR

Simulations of a nearby dwarf galaxy, a nearby giant galaxy and a distant giant galaxy; note that the last is similar in angular size to the dwarf, but has a much smoother brightness distribution (simulations from Ned Wright's ABC of distances The determination of the Cosmic Distance Scale remains one of the major goals of cosmological programs in the early 21st century. Achieving this goal requires a reliable distance indicator. While observing programs continue to pursue conventional primary distance indicators (such as RR Lyraes and Cepheids) and secondary distance indicators (such as the RGB tip and the Tully-Fisher relation), attention is also being given to the method of surface brightness fluctuations. This method rests primarily on the hypothesis that the stellar populations in most galaxies have similar colour-magnitude diagrams. Thus, the total luminosity of the galaxy is generated by similar stars - mainly red giants. In a nearby low-luminosity galaxy, most of the light comes from a relatively small numebr of giant branch stars; consequently, that galaxy has a "grainier" appearance than a distant high-luminosity galaxy of the same apparent magnitude (see figure). The degree of granularity can therefore serve as a distance indicator. The present program will use the IR channel of Wide-Field Camera 3 (F110W and F160W filters) to observe seventeen galaxies in the Fornax and Virgo clusters to provide a reliable calibration of this technique.

Past weeks:
page by Neill Reid, updated 11/1/2010