ACS - Surveyor


Advanced Camera for Surveys - A Bigger Clearer Picture

ACS's position in HST

What light does ACS see?


Runaway Galaxies

Pillars of Creation
Cone Nebula

Colliding Galaxies
The Mice

Hotbed of Star Formation
Omega Nebula

Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys, or ACS, is responsible for many of Hubble’s most impressive images of deep space. With its wide field of view, sharp image quality and enhanced sensitivity, the camera doubled Hubble’s field of view and expanded its capabilities significantly when it was installed in March 2002.

ACS sees in wavelengths from the far ultraviolet to visible light, making it capable of studying some of the earliest activity in the universe.

ACS contains a trio of cameras: the wide field camera, the high-resolution camera, and the solar blind camera. In 2007, an electrical short shut down all but the solar blind camera. Astronauts repaired ACS during Servicing Mission 4 in 2009, and only the high-resolution camera could not be returned to life.

Each camera performs a specific function. ACS's wide field camera conducts broad surveys of the universe. Astronomers use it to study the nature and distribution of galaxies, which reveal clues about how our universe evolved.

The solar blind camera blocks visible light to enhance ultraviolet sensitivity, focusing on hot stars or planets radiating ultraviolet wavelengths.

The high-resolution camera took detailed pictures of the inner regions of galaxies. It searched neighboring stars for planets and planets-to-be, and took close-up images of the planets in our own solar system. The high resolution of one of Hubble's newest instruments, Wide Field Camera 3, will be able to make up for some of the loss of this particular camera.

Making Room
ACS, installed during a visit by astronauts in 2002, occupies the space vacated by the Faint Object Camera (FOC), Hubble's "zoom lens" for nearly 12 years. The instrument was built between 1996 and 1999 by scientists and engineers at The Johns Hopkins University, Ball Aerospace, the Space Telescope Science Institute, and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.