This week on HST


HST Programs: June 20, 2011 - June 26, 2011

Program Number Principal Investigator Program Title
12030 James C. Green, University of Colorado at Boulder COS-GTO: STIS high resolution observations of the local ISM
12069 Marc Postman, Space Telescope Science Institute Through a Lens, Darkly - New Constraints on the Fundamental Components of the Cosmos
12100 Marc Postman, Space Telescope Science Institute Through a Lens, Darkly - New Constraints on the Fundamental Components of the Cosmos
12104 Marc Postman, Space Telescope Science Institute Through a Lens, Darkly - New Constraints on the Fundamental Components of the Cosmos
12163 Aaron J. Barth, University of California - Irvine Structure and Stellar Content of the Nearest Nuclear Clusters in Late-Type Spiral Galaxies
12166 Harald Ebeling, University of Hawaii A Snapshot Survey of The Most Massive Clusters of Galaxies
12169 Boris T. Gaensicke, The University of Warwick The frequency and chemical composition of planetary debris discs around young white dwarfs
12177 Pieter van Dokkum, Yale University 3D-HST: A Spectroscopic Galaxy Evolution Treasury
12181 Drake Deming, University of Maryland The Atmospheric Structure of Giant Hot Exoplanets
12204 Christopher Thom, Space Telescope Science Institute Probing the Ionized Gas in the Magellanic Stream
12208 John J. Bochanski, The Pennsylvania State University Resolving Disks and Jets in a New, Benchmark Low-Mass Binary
12210 Adam S. Bolton, University of Utah SLACS for the Masses: Extending Strong Lensing to Lower Masses and Smaller Radii
12215 Nancy R. Evans, Smithsonian Institution Astrophysical Observatory Searching for the Missing Low-Mass Companions of Massive Stars
12222 Norbert Przybilla, Universitat Erlangen-Nurnberg Constraints on Super/Hypernova Nucleosynthesis from the Hyper-Runaway Star HD271791
12248 Jason Tumlinson, Space Telescope Science Institute How Dwarf Galaxies Got That Way: Mapping Multiphase Gaseous Halos and Galactic Winds Below L*
12264 Simon L. Morris, University of Durham The Relationship between Gas and Galaxies for 0
12275 Bart P. Wakker, University of Wisconsin - Madison Measuring gas flow rates in the Milky Way
12276 Bart P. Wakker, University of Wisconsin - Madison Mapping a nearby galaxy filament
12277 Daniel E. Welty, University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign HD 62542: Probing the Bare, Dense Core of an Interstellar Cloud
12283 Matthew A. Malkan, University of California - Los Angeles WFC3 Infrared Spectroscopic Parallel Survey {WISP}: A Survey of Star Formation Across Cosmic Time
12286 Hao-Jing Yan, University of Missouri - Columbia Hubble Infrared Pure Parallel Imaging Extragalactic Survey {HIPPIES}
12287 Scott D. Friedman, Space Telescope Science Institute Constraining Models of Deuterium Depletion and Galactic Chemical Evolution with Improved Measurements of D/H
12288 Douglas R. Gies, Georgia State University Research Foundation Hot Evolved Companions to Intermediate-Mass Main-Sequence Stars: Solving the Mystery of KOI-81
12302 Edward F. Guinan, Villanova University Probing the Atmospheres of Cepheids with HST-COS: Pulsation Dependences, Plasma Dynamics and Heating Mechanisms
12307 Andrew J. Levan, The University of Warwick A public SNAPSHOT survey of gamma-ray burst host galaxies
12310 Goeran Oestlin, Stockholm University LARS - The Lyman Alpha Reference Sample
12324 C. S. Kochanek, The Ohio State University The Temperature Profiles of Quasar Accretion Disks
12363 Yue Shen, Smithsonian Institution Astrophysical Observatory X-ray and HST Imaging of Kpc-Scale Binary AGNs
12540 Robert P. Kirshner, Harvard University UV Studies of a Core Collapse Supernova
12675 Keith S. Noll, Space Telescope Science Institute Hubble Heritage: 1, 000, 000th Science Exposure and Neptune's First Orbit

Selected highlights

GO 12169: The frequency and chemical composition of planetary debris discs around young white dwarfs

Artist's impression of a comet spiralling in to the white dwarf variable, G29-38 During the 1980s, one of the techniques used to search for brown dwarfs was to obtain near-infrared photometry of white dwarf stars. Pioneered by Ron Probst (KPNO), the idea rests on the fact that while white dwarfs are hot (5,000 to 15,000K for the typcail targets0, they are also small (Earth-sized), so they have low luminosities; consequently, a low-mass companion should be detected as excess flux at near- and mid-infrared wavelengths. In 1988, Ben Zuckerman and Eric Becklin detected just this kind of excess around G29-38, a relatively hot DA white dwarf that also happens to lie on the WD instability strip. However, follow-up observations showed that the excess peaked at longer wavelengths than would be expected for a white dwarf; rather, G 29-38 is surrounded by a dusty disk. Given the orbital lifetimes, those dust particles must be regularly replenished, presumably from rocky remnants of a solar system. G 29-38 stood as a lone prototype for almost 2 decades, until a handful of other dusty white dwarfs were identified from Spitzer observations within the last couple of years.In subsequent years, a significant number of DA white dwarfs have been found to exhibit narrow metallic absorption lines in their spectra. Those lines are generally attributed to "pollution" of the white dwarf atmospheres. Given that the diffusion time for metals within the atmospheres is short (tens to hundreds of years), the only reasonable means of maintaining such lines in ~20% of the DA population is to envisage continuous accretion from a surrounding debris disk. The present program aims to address this question by using COS to obtain UV observations of young white dwarfs, probing correlations with progenitor mass and examining the detailed composition of the accreted materials.

GO 12177: 3D-HST: A Spectroscopic Galaxy Evolution Treasury

Part of the GOODS/Chandra Deep Field South field, as imaged by HST One of the exciting new capabilities offered by the post-SM4 Hubble Telescope is multi-object, low-resolution, near-infrared spectroscopy, using the two grisms available on the IR channel of Wide-Field Camera 3. These observations provide an important avenue for complementing wide-field imaging surveys. In particular, the present program aims to build on the extensive database currently being accumulated as part of the CANDELS Multi-Cycle Treasury program. CANDELS, itself, rests on past HST Treasury programs, and will provide multi-tiered imaging of five fields. 3D-HST will supplement portions of four fields (GOODS-south, AEGIS, the UDS and COSMOS fields) with WFC3/G141 and ACS/G800L grism data. The spectroscopic data will provide important additional information on the galaxy redshift distribution, and on the star formation characteristics in the redshift range 1 < z < 3.5. The data should also be useful in identifying quasars at high redshifts, potentially extending beyond z~6.

GO 12210: SLACS for the Masses: Extending Strong Lensing to Lower Masses and Smaller Radii

ACS images of galaxy-galaxy Einstein ring lenses from the Sloan survey Gravitational lensing is a consequence the theory of general relativity. Its importance as an astrophysical tool first became apparent with the realisation (in 1979) that the quasar pair Q0957+561 actually comprised two lensed images of the same background quasar. In the succeeding years, lensing has been used primarily to probe the mass distribution of galaxy clusters, using theoretical models to analyse the arcs and arclets that are produced by strong lensing of background galaxies, and the large-scale mass distribution, through analysis of weak lensing effects on galaxy morphologies. Gravitational lensing can also be used to investigate the mass distribution of individual galaxies. Until recently, the most common background sources were quasars. Galaxy-galaxy lenses, however, offer a distinct advantage, since the background source is extended, and therefore imposes a stronger constraints on the mass distribution of the lensing galaxy than a point-source QSO. The Sloan Digital Sky Survey is a powerful tool for identifying candidate galaxy-galaxy lenses, and has provided targets for HST imaging programs in several previous cycles. The presentprogram is using HST-ACS imaging to survey a further 135 strong lens candidates. The HST data will verify the nature of those candidates, and provide the angular resolution necessary to model the mass distribution.

GO 12276: Mapping a galaxy filament

Cosmological simulations of structure in the WHIM Only a small fraction of the baryons in the Universe, perhaps 10%, are thought to reside in visible matter in galaxies. About 30% of the total likely contributes to the ionised gas detected in Lyman-alpha absorption studies. The remainder is generally believed to reside in the WHIM - the Warm-Hot Intergalactic Medium. This material is generally expected to form highly filamentary structures, some of which collapse and condense to for galaxies in the early Universe. Such structures can only be detected through the effect that they have on the light emitted by background sources. As the light passes through the filament, absorption occurs at specific wavelengths that depend on the composition and ionisation of the component materials. The present program focuses on 10-Mpc long filamentary structure that has been identified by mapping the distribution of galaxies in the (relatively) local universe (the measured velocities correspond to a redshift, z~0.01). Ultraviolet observations already exist for four QSOs lying behind this putative structure. The present program aims to use the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph to extend observations to a further 23 QSOs and/or AGN, providing a more detailed map of the density and ionisation structure.

Past weeks:
page by Neill Reid, updated 2/5/2011