AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 90. HST Instruments
Poster, Wednesday, January 8, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall AB

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[90.04] HST Wide Field and Planetary Camera II Status Update

B. Whitmore, G. Brammer, I. Heyer, A. M. Koekemoer, V. Kozhurina-Platais, L. Lubin, M. McMaster, A. Schultz (STScI)

We review the status of the Wide Field and Planetary Camera II (WFPC2) onboard the Hubble Space Telescope, as well as recent enhancements to calibration and user support. WFPC2 was successfully recovered after Servicing Mission 3B, and we describe here the results from our extensive Observatory Verification observations. We find no significant changes in the operational behavior of the camera with respect to its pre-SM3B performance. We also use our standard photometric monitoring observations between 1994 and 2002 to update the UV contamination rates, which have declined by roughly 50% for most of the UV filters during this period. Parametric fits that will allow observers to remove the effects of contamination from their WFPC2 photometry are provided. Analysis of WFPC2 pointings from the last three years confirm small relative misalignments of the apertures with respect to the Fine Guidance Sensors, on the level of a few arcseconds. These have also been previously seen with STIS. We present the new PyRAF-based `MultiDrizzle' script, which is aimed at providing a one-step approach to combining HST images. The purpose of this script is to allow easy interaction with the complex suite of tasks in the IRAF/STSDAS `dither' package, as well as the new `PyDrizzle' task, while at the same time retaining the flexibility of these tasks. We present an overview of the overall calibration strategy for WFPC2, covering the design of the observational programs as well as analysis of the results and their incorporation into the calibration pipeline. In addition, we discuss special close-out calibration programs planned for the remaining cycles of WFPC2 operation. We solicit community input which will play a key role in further defining these plans.

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