This week on HST


HST Programs: December 8 - December 14 , 2014

Program Number Principal Investigator Program Title
13293 Anne Jaskot, Smith College Green Pea Galaxies: Extreme, Optically-Thin Starbursts?
13303 Robert A Simcoe, Massachusetts Institute of Technology The Structure of MgII Absorbing Galaxies at z=2-5: Linking CGM Physics and Stellar Morphology During Galaxy Assembly
13314 Sanchayeeta Borthakur, The Johns Hopkins University Characterizing the Elusive Intragroup Medium and Its Role in Galaxy Evolution
13352 Matthew A. Malkan, University of California - Los Angeles WFC3 Infrared Spectroscopic Parallel Survey WISP: A Survey of Star Formation Across Cosmic Time
13382 Mary E. Putman, Columbia University in the City of New York Warm Gas Flows in the Coma Cluster
13434 Tiffany Meshkat, Universiteit Leiden Transmission spectroscopy through the debris disk of Fomalhaut
13453 Michael Jura, University of California - Los Angeles The Elemental Compositions of Extrasolar Minor Planets
13459 Tommaso L. Treu, University of California - Los Angeles The Grism Lens-Amplified Survey from Space {GLASS}
13460 Sylvain Veilleux, University of Maryland The Remarkable Ultraviolet Spectrum of Mrk 231
13467 Jacob L. Bean, University of Chicago Follow The Water: The Ultimate WFC3 Exoplanet Atmosphere Survey
13483 Goeran Oestlin, Stockholm University eLARS - extending the Lyman Alpha Reference Sample
13504 Jennifer Lotz, Space Telescope Science Institute HST Frontier Fields - Observations of MACSJ1149.5+2223
13517 Matthew A. Malkan, University of California - Los Angeles WFC3 Infrared Spectroscopic Parallel Survey WISP: A Survey of Star Formation Across Cosmic Time
13644 Xiaohui Fan, University of Arizona CIII] Emission in z=5.7 Galaxies: A Pathfinder for Galaxy Spectroscopy in the Reionization Era
13654 Matthew Hayes, Stockholm University Ultraviolet Spectroscopy of the Extended Lyman Alpha Reference Sample
13664 Susan D. Benecchi, Planetary Science Institute Origin and Composition of the Ultra-Red Kuiper Belt Objects
13674 David L. Kaplan, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee A 1.05Msun Companion to PSR J2222-0137: The Coolest Known White Dwarf?
13677 Saul Perlmutter, University of California - Berkeley See Change: Testing time-varying dark energy with z>1 supernovae and their massive cluster hosts
13679 Lorenz Roth, Royal Institute of Technology Europa's Water Vapor Plumes: Systematically Constraining their Abundance and Variability
13695 Benne W. Holwerda, Sterrewacht Leiden STarlight Absorption Reduction through a Survey of Multiple Occulting Galaxies (STARSMOG)
13711 Abhijit Saha, National Optical Astronomy Observatory, AURA Establishing a Network of Next Generation SED standards with DA White Dwarfs
13728 Steven Kraemer, Catholic University of America Do QSO2s have Narrow Line Region Outflows? Implications for quasar-mode feedback
13729 Andy Lawrence, University of Edinburgh, Institute for Astronomy Slow-blue PanSTARRS transients : high amplification microlens events?
13743 David Thilker, The Johns Hopkins University The Controversial Nature of the Diffuse UV Emission in Galaxies: Exploring NGC300
13755 Jenny E. Greene, Princeton University The Hosts of Megamaser Disk Galaxies (II)
13760 Derck L. Massa, Space Science Institute Filling the gap --near UV, optical and near IR extinction
13761 Stephan Robert McCandliss, The Johns Hopkins University High efficiency SNAP survey for Lyman alpha emitters at low redshift
13767 Michele Trenti, University of Cambridge Bright Galaxies at Hubble's Detection Frontier: The redshift z~9-10 BoRG pure-parallel survey
13776 Michael D. Gregg, University of California - Davis Completing The Next Generation Spectral Library
13780 Philip Massey, Lowell Observatory The Nature of Newly Discovered Wolf-Rayet Stars in the LMC
13790 Steven A. Rodney, The Johns Hopkins University Frontier Field Supernova Search
13793 Rebecca A A Bowler, Royal Observatory Edinburgh Unveiling the merger fraction, sizes and morphologies of the brightest z ~ 7 galaxies
13815 Giovanni Miniutti, Centro de Astrobiologia (CSIC/INTA) Inst. Nac. de Tec. Aero. Early evolution of AGN X-ray coronae and the X-ray, BLR, disc-wind connection
13842 Frederick Hamann, University of Florida Testing the Youth and Transition Object Status of FeLoBAL Quasars
13845 Adam Muzzin, Sterrewacht Leiden Resolved H-alpha Maps of Star-forming Galaxies in Distant Clusters: Towards a Physical Model of Satellite Galaxy Quenching
13865 David Jewitt, University of California - Los Angeles Determining the Nature and Origin of Mass Loss from Active Asteroid P/2013 R3
13867 Mansi Kasliwal, California Institute of Technology Testing a Globular Cluster Origin for Elusive Calcium-rich Gap Transients
13942 Mark B. Peacock, Michigan State University Does the IMF vary with galaxy mass? The X-ray binary population of a key galaxy, NGC7457

Selected highlights

GO 13293: Green Pea Galaxies: Extreme, Optically-Thin Starbursts?


A montage of green pea galaxies discovered by the Galaxy Zoo project
Understanding the galaxy formation and galaxy evolution has been a strong focus of astronomical research since thne 1970s and remains a key issue for 21st century astrophysics. Since we cannot follow an individual galaxy through time, tackling these questions requires a statistical approach, and, as a result, large-scale surveys have played a crucial role in the field. In particular, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, conducted from Apache point Observatory from the 1990s through the early years of this century, has provided a treasure trove of information of galaxies at low and moderate redshifts. One of the interesting discoveries that originated from SDSS was the discovery of so-called "green pea" galaxies - compact objects whose combined images have a greenish hue, originally uncovered by citizen scientists as part of the Galaxy Zoo project. Closer inspection shows that these are gas-rich galaxies lying at relatiVEly low redshifts, 0.1 < z < 0.36, with the green-tinged hue partly stemming from the presence of strong oxygen ([O III]) emission. These characteristics indicate that the galaxies are undergoing strong star-forming episodes. Teh present program aims to take advantage of HST's unparalleled resolution and extraordinary sensitivity at ultraviolet wavelengths, and will use the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph to obtain spectra are far-UV wavelengths and probe the physical structure of the underlying star forming regions.

GO 13677: See Change: Testing time-varying dark energy with z>1 supernovae and their massive cluster hosts


HST/ACS images of a supernova in a galazy at z=1.2
The last few years of the twentieth century saw a revolution in cosmology, with the measurement of the acceleration term in expansion at high redshifts and the identification of dark energy as a major cosmological component. The overall significance of this result has been recognised through the award of the Nobel prize and, most recently, the Fundamental Physics Breakthrough Prize to Perlmutter, Riess and Schmidt and their respective teams. Type Ia supernovae are the prime yardstick for measuring the rate of expansion at moderate and high redshifts. The seminal work in this field was carried out with ground-based telescopes, but Hubble offers almost the only way of obtaining reliable post-maximum photometry of these objects to determine the full shape of the light curve. Many previous HST supernovae programs have concentrated on field galaxies, but applying appropriate corrections for in situ reddening by dust remains an issue in these systems, while the overall SNe detection rates are relatively low at high redshifts. The present program takes a different tack, and aims to minimise the uncertainties by searching for supernovae in massive, high-redshift clusters. The expectation is that the majority of detections lie within dust-poor elliptical galaxies; moreover, supernova rates may be higher. The program will obtain ACS observations of ten of the most massive galaxy clusters lying at redshifts 1.1 < z < 1.75.

GO 13790: Frontier Field Supernova Search


Finding chart for the multiply imaged supernova, SN Refsdal, discovered in November 2014 in cluster MACJ1149
The overwhelming majority of galaxies in the universe are found in clusters. As such, these systems offer an important means of tracing the development of large-scale structure through the history of the universe. Moreover, as intense concentrations of mass, galaxy clusters provide highly efficient gravitational lenses, capable of concentrating and magnifying light from background high redshift galaxies to allow detailed spectropic investigations of star formation in the early universe. Hubble imaging has already revealed lensed arcs and detailed sub-structure within a handful of rich clusters. At the same time, the lensing characteristics provide information on the mass distribution within the lensing cluster. Hubble is currently undertaking deep imaging observations of up to 6 galaxy clusters as part of the Frontier Fields Director's Time program (GO 13495/13496). Those observations have provided a basis for several synergistic programs. The present program is using the Frontier Field observations to search for supernovae at high redshifts, z> 1.5, aiming to set further constraints on dark energy and probing the frequency of supernovae as a function of redshift, the delay time and hence the likely progenitors. Recent observations of the fourth cluster, MACSJ1149.5+2223, resulted in the detection of a particularly unusual object - multiple lensed images of a supernova in a redshift z=1.49 galaxy that is itself multiply lensed. Each of those images results from light following a different path due to the gravitational potential of the foreground cluster and galaxies. Follow-up observations are being obtained to monitor the light-curves of each component, hence determining the time-delay for each light path. Those measured delays can be matched against the predictions of gravitational lensing models. Moreover, since the galaxy itself has multiple images it is possible that future observations may detect images of the supernova in other components. Thus, this supernova can (perhaps even will) be discovered more than once - and might even be predicted.

GO 13865: Determining the Nature and Origin of Mass Loss from Active Asteroid P/2013 R3


The multiple nuclei of MBC P/2013 R3 as imaged by Hubble in late 2013 and 2014
The term 'comet" is generally associated with low-mass, volatile-rich solar system objects that spend most of their life at very lage distances from the Sun, plunging only rarely into the inner regions where they acquire extended tails due to outgassing. Sometimes those obejcts are captured into short-period, eccentric orbits, leading to rapid depletion of the volatile content in rapidly-successive perihelion passages. However, recent years have seen growing evidence of another class of cometes exist: comets with near-circular orbits that place them between Mars and Jupiter, within the realm of the Main Belt of asteroids. One of the first candidate main belt comets, as these objects have been dubbed, is the asteroid Scheila. Discovered by the Heidelberg astronomer August Kopff in 1906, and named after an English student with whom he was acquainted, this is one of the larger known asteroids, with a diameter estimated as ~110 km. Early December 2010, Steve Larson (of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory) noted that Scheila had sprouted a coma halo in observations taken by the Catalina Sky Survey. An examination of archival images revealed no evidence for activity throughout October and November, but a possible onset on December 3rd. The asteroid 1979 OW7/1996 N2 exhibited similar behaviour in 1996 and again in 2002; the initial outburst was ascribed to a collision, but the second event suggests that the activity is intrinsic rather than externally stimulated. More recently, the Pan-STARRS survey has contributed several objects, including the asteroid 2006 VW139, imaged during an outburst, MBC 2013-P5, which has exhibited a spectacular set of dusty tails, and MBC P/2013 R3, which has multiple "nuclei" that are gradually drifting apart at speeds of less than 1 metre/second. The latter object is probably best explained as the result of rotational break-up. The present monitoring program with Wide-Feld Camera 3 will enable measureemnt of their orbits and, through time-resolved photomtery, determination of the rotation periods of the individual fragments.

Past weeks:
page by Neill Reid, updated 11/11/2014
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