FOCUS FURTHER

What light does each instrument see?

Is that what the pictures really look like?

The Science Instruments HubbleSite
The Instruments of Hubble


T
he Hubble Space Telescope's six science instruments — its cameras, spectrographs, and fine guidance sensors — work either together or individually to bring us stunning images from the farthest reaches of space. Each instrument was designed to observe the universe in a unique way.

 
WFC3 - Chromatic King
Wide Field Camera 3 can be used to study objects everywhere from the far-distant universe to our own solar system's backyard. It helps examine the way galaxies evolve over time, the history of individual galaxies, and the mystery of "dark energy," the strange force that seems to be accelerating the expansion of the universe.

 

 



COS - Ultraviolet Eye



The Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, which breaks ultraviolet radiation into components that can be studied in detail, is used to examine galaxy evolution, the formation of planets and the rise of the elements needed for life, and the "cosmic web" of gas between galaxies.

 

 



ACS - Super Sightseer



The Advanced Camera for Surveys conducts surveys of the universe and studies the nature and distribution of galaxies. It studies ultraviolet emissions from stars, takes pictures of other planets in our solar system, and is used to search neighboring stars for planets.

 

Saturn
 Pillars of Creation 



NICMOS - Dust Buster



The Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer is Hubble's heat sensor. Its sensitivity to infrared light makes it useful for observing objects obscured by interstellar gas and dust (such as stellar birthsites and planetary atmospheres) and for peering into deepest space.

TOP

Saturn
 Saturn 


STIS - Light Decoder



The Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph is a versatile instrument that acts somewhat like a prism, separating light from the cosmos into its component colors, as shown at right. STIS is used to study black holes, the composition of galaxies, and the atmospheres of planets around other stars, among other things.

TOP

Sign of a black hole
 Sign of a black hole 


FGS - Bullseye!



The Fine Guidance Sensors are targeting devices that lock onto "guide stars" and measure their positions relative to the object being viewed. Adjustments based on these precise readings keep Hubble pointed in the right direction. The sensors also are used to perform celestial measurements.

TOP


The Fine
Guidance
Sensors
don't take
images.



WFPC2 - Straight Shooter



Removed in 2009: The Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 was the "workhorse" instrument behind many of the most famous Hubble pictures. As Hubble's main camera until the installation of ACS in 2002, it was used to observe just about everything. This camera was removed in 2009 during Servicing Mission 4 to make room for Wide Field Camera 3.

TOP

Eagle Nebula
Eagle Nebula

NGC 4414
Spiral Galaxy NGC 4414 



FOC - Eagle Eye



Removed in 2002: The Faint Object Camera was Hubble's telephoto lens, recording detailed images over a small field of view. This instrument was replaced by the Advanced Camera for Surveys in early 2002.

TOP

Betelgeuse
 Betelgeuse 

HubbleSite