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Wide Field Camera to be upgraded on Hubble Space Telescope

CCD imaging sensors are being launched into space on board NASA's space shuttle Atlantis, as part of a mission to upgrade and repair the Hubble Space Telescope. The imaging sensors from e2v will equip Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), a new instrument that will be installed on Hubble to take large-scale, clear and detailed pictures of the universe over a wide range of colours.

WFC3 will replace the existing Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2). Its key feature is the ability to span the electromagnetic spectrum from the ultraviolet (UV), through visible/optical light and into the near infrared (NIR). It is this wide-field panchromatic ability that is so unique and gives WFC3 the ability to observe young, hot stars (glowing mainly in UV) and older, cooler stars (glowing mainly in red and NIR) in the same galaxy. WFC3 is able to do this through its dual-channel design using two sensor technologies. Incoming light is beamed from the telescope to either the ultraviolet-visible (UVIS) channel or the near-infrared (NIR) channel. The UVIS channel of the instrument is equipped with e2v's large CCD-43 imaging sensor.


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