Hubble’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) Restarts
Steve Leibson - October 25, 2008
NASA reported today that it had successfully restarted the Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) after its weeks of hibernation following the loss of the primary Science Data Formatter. With the secondary formatter online, NASA’s earlier attempt to restart the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) had caused a general scientific instrument shutdown, for reasons still not exactly clear. However, NASA attributed the science instrument shutdown to a transient fault and restarted the science data formatter yesterday. Today, it successfully restarted the WPC2. Images should follow checkout and calibration next some time week.
The WFPC2 is apparently the instrument largely responsible for capturing Hubble’s most striking images of the universe. It was placed on the Hubble in 1993 during the first servicing mission, when it replaced Hubble’s original Wide Field Camera. The WFPC2’s four 800×800-pixel CCDs made by Loral have exquisitely sensitive imaging sensors that can detect light with as little as 5 photons. If you’d like to geek out some, here’s where you’ll find the WFPC2 Instrument Handbook.
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