Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS):
This new camera was designed to take full advantage of Hubble's
unique strengths as a space-based telescope. ACS possesses
a wide field of view, superb image quality and sensitivity
in visible to far ultraviolet wavelengths. With more than
twice the field of view and nearly five times the resolution
of the camera it replaces, ACS has 10 times more "discovery
efficiency" than Hubble's current workhorse, the Wide
Field Planetary Camera 2.
Astronomers define discovery efficiency as the measure
of an observatory's potential to produce scientific results
in a fixed amount of time. In other words: the faster a
camera can take good pictures, the higher the discovery
ACS sees in wavelengths ranging from visible to far ultraviolet.
It is actually a team of three different channels with specialized
capabilities. The high resolution channel will take extremely
detailed pictures of the inner regions of galaxies and search
neighboring stars for planets and planets-to-be. The solar
blind channel blocks visible light to enhance ultraviolet
sensitivity. Among other things, it will be used to study
weather on planets in our own solar system.
With a field of view that is more than twice the area of
Hubble's current surveyor, ACS's wide field channel will
conduct new surveys of the Universe. Astronomers will use
it to study the nature and distribution of galaxies in order
to understand how our Universe evolved.
Rigid Solar Arrays
(SA3): Hubble got a brand new look with its latest
set of solar wings. Although 45% smaller than the first
two pairs, they will produce 25% more power. Unlike their
flexible predecessors-which could roll up like window shades
- the new set is rigid. Less susceptible to damage and the
extreme temperature variations of Hubble's orbit, these
advanced arrays provide enough extra power to run a
new generation of science instruments.
Power Control Unit
(PCU): As Hubble's power switching station, the PCU
controls and distributes electricity from the solar arrays
and batteries to other parts of the telescope. Replacing
the original PCU, which has been on the job for 11 years, required Hubble to be completely powered down for the
first time since its launch in 1990.
Hubble's new PCU allows astronomers to take full advantage
of additional power generated by the new solar arrays. CONTINUE...
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