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National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Goddard Space Flight Center

Astrophysics Science Division | Sciences and Exploration

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NICMOS Back in Action

Thanks to the NCS, NICMOS was able to take an image of the Cone Nebula.

A Galaxy on Edge

Images taken by NICMOS are compared to an image taken by an instrument that works in the visible spectrum.
After more than three years of inactivity, the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) reopened its "near-infrared eyes" on the universe, snapping several breathtaking views, from the craggy interior of a star-forming cloud to a revealing look at the heart of an edge-on galaxy. The camera's penetrating vision sliced through the edge-on dusty disk of a galaxy much like our Milky Way to peer all the way into the galaxy's core. The first new images were released on June 5, 2002.

The proof was in the pictures. The NICMOS Cooling System and the novel technologies it contained was a resounding success.

In addition to providing renewed life to NICMOS, the NCS serves as a technological pathfinder for future NASA programs. These include the Terrestrial Planet Finder, Constellation-X, and the James Webb Space Telescope which will require the capability to cool detectors and associated components to temperatures as low as 6 K (-448 F) for extended periods.

An unusual challenge was presented to the Hubble Project team, but through a bit of ingenuity, dedication, and teamwork, the team had shown time and again that solutions can always be found.


More . . .
The Cone Nebuala - zooming in up close.
The NGC 4013 galaxy as viewed through different spectrums.
Judy Gibbon talks about receiving the first pictures from the revived NICMOS instrument.