The Hubble Space Telescope is known for taking the most awe-inspiring photos of planets, nebulas, and more in its 31 years of service. But have you ever wondered how the space telescope takes its photos?
The Hubble has a couple of instruments installed that helps it make its observations and take gorgeous photos of space objects. When it comes to taking photos, the space telescope relies on its camera systems to take the perfect shot of the subject it focuses on.
Hubble Space Telescope
Before we get to the camera systems in this Tech Times article, let us first talk about the Hubble Space Telescope itself.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) describes the Hubble, which is named after astronomer Edwin Hubble, as "a large, space-based observatory, which has revolutionized astronomy since its launch and deployment by the space shuttle Discovery in 1990."
The space telescope has scientific instruments added to it throughout the years. NASA has launched a total of five astronaut servicing missions as of writing to update and add parts to the Hubble.
The Hubble's Camera Systems
According to a separate post on the NASA website, the Hubble Space Telescope actually has two camera systems that let it take photos.
The first camera system is called the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), which was installed on the space telescope in 2002. The ACS is made up of three cameras that are referred to as channels.
The ACS "was designed primarily for wide-field imagery in visible wavelengths, although it can also detect ultraviolet and near-infrared light," per NASA.
The second primary camera system that has been installed on the Hubble is known as the Wide Field Camera 3. The Wide Field Camera 3 was installed in 2009 and, similarly to the ACS, also provides wide-field imagery.
This camera system was actually designed to be complementary to the ACS. What differs from the Wide Field Camera 3 is that it "probes deeper into infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths, providing a more complete view of the cosmos."
Examples of Photos Taken by the Hubble
As mentioned earlier, the Hubble Space Telescope has taken countless breathtaking photos in its 31 years, many of which have been featured here on Tech Times.
Galaxies are some of the favorite subjects of the photographs of the Hubble Space Telescope. The spiral galaxy NGC 5037 and NGC 2442, which is otherwise known as the Meathook Galaxy, is among the galaxies that the Hubble has taken photos of.
The Hubble has taken photos of nebulae through the years as well. Examples of nebulae that have been featured in the pictures taken by the space telescope are the Orion Nebula, Southern Crab Nebula, and Veil Nebula.
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Written by Isabella James