content long 22-October-2017 14:06:22

Hubble instruments

Introduction

On board Hubble all the instruments are placed in the so-called radial instrument bay (in red) and axial bay (in yellow).

Right from the very beginning Hubble has been designed to be a new type of mission - a permanent space-based observatory that could be regularly visited by the Space Shuttle and serviced. At the same time astronauts would be able to replace or upgrade outdated science instruments.

Hubble's complement of science instruments currently includes one camera, three imaging spectrographs, and fine guidance sensors (primarily used for astrometric observations).

Two new instruments are planned to be installed during the Servicing Mission 4: the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) and the Wide Field camera 3 (WFC3). The latter will replace the WFPC2, and COS will be installed in the instrument bay currently occupied by COSTAR, as this set of corrector mirrors for the first generation instruments is no longer required.

Hubble's position above the Earth's atmosphere means that these science instruments can produce high resolution images of astronomical objects. Ground-based telescopes can seldom provide resolution better than 0.5-1.0 arc-seconds, except for very short times under the very best observing conditions. Hubble's resolution is about 5-10 times better, or 0.05-0.1 arc-seconds.

Present Instruments

WFC3 Wide Field Camera 3 (installed during SM4)
COS Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (installed during SM4)
ACS Advanced Camera for Surveys (installed during SM3B)
STIS Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (installed during SM2)
NICMOS Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrograph (installed during SM2)
FGS Fine Guidance Sensors (astrometry) (part of the original complement; individual units replaced during SM2, SM3A and SM4)

Former Instruments

WFPC2 Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (installed during SM1; removed during SM4)
COSTAR Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement (installed during SM1; removed during SM3B)
FOC Faint Object Camera (one of the original complement of instruments; replaced by ACS during SM3B)
FOS Faint Object Spectrograph (one of the original complement of instruments; replaced by NICMOS during SM2)
GHRS Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph (one of the original complement of instruments; replaced by STIS during SM2)
HSP High Speed Photometer(one of the original complement of instruments; replaced by COSTAR during SM1)
WFPC1 Wide Field and Planetary Camera 1 (one of the original complement of instruments; replaced by WFPC2 during SM1)


Last Update: 17 March 2015

For further information please contact: SciTech.editorial@esa.int

Related Articles