ACS - Advanced Camera for Surveys
A new digital camera to extend Hubble's vision
The Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) replaced Hubble's Faint Object Camera during SM3B. Its wavelength range extends from the ultraviolet, through the visible and out to the near-infrared. ACS is a so-called third generation Hubble instrument. Its wide field of view is nearly twice that of Hubble's former workhorse camera, WFPC2, and with its superb image quality and high sensitivity, ACS has increased Hubble's potential for new discoveries by a factor of ten. The name, Advanced Camera for Surveys, comes from its particular ability to map large areas of the sky in great detail. ACS can also perform spectroscopy with a special optical tool called a 'grism'.
ACS - Hubble's newest scientific instrument on display in a clean-room before launch.
Three sub-instruments make up ACS
Wide Field Camera (WFC)
A look into one of ACS's most delicate and crucial parts - the CCD camera.
The Wide Field Camera is a high efficiency, wide field, optical and near-infrared camera. This space eye is optimised to hunt for galaxies and galaxy clusters in the remote and ancient Universe, at a time when our Cosmos was very young. The distribution in space of these distant objects will enable scientists to investigate just how the Universe evolved.
High Resolution Camera (HRC)
Another important sub-instrument is the High Resolution Camera. This camera is designed to take extremely detailed pictures (high resolution) of the light from the centres of galaxies with massive black holes, as well as of ordinary galaxies, star clusters and gaseous nebulae, where extraterrestrial planetary systems may be hidden. The instrument includes a coronograph, capable of improving Hubble's contrast near bright objects by about a factor of 10.
Solar Blind Camera (SBC)
Finally, the Solar Blind Camera blocks visible light to allow faint ultraviolet radiation to be discerned. Among other things, it will be used to study weather patterns on other planets and aurorae on Jupiter.
More about ACS
Last Update: 17 March 2015