Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS)
The Ball Aerospace-built Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) was installed during the 2002 servicing mission. The third-generation Hubble instrument has enhanced the telescope’s imaging capabilities and has delivered some of the telescope’s most dramatic images. ACS improved Hubble’s productivity and allowed for the discovery of celestial objects far beyond the reach of previous instruments in a fraction of the time.
After its installation, ACS provided five times more sensitivity and more than doubled Hubble’s viewing field. The wide field of view, high throughput mirrors with higher reflectivity, and larger, more sensitive detectors dramatically improved the telescope’s ability to deliver valuable science data.
The ACS science program emphasizes deep surveys of red-shifted galaxies and searches for and studies quasars, brown dwarfs, and planets. It is sensitive to wavelengths ranging from ultraviolet to the far red (115-1050 nanometers).
This phone booth-sized instrument consists of three specialized channels:
- Wide Field Channel- surveys the universe to determine the nature and distribution of galaxies
- Solar Blind Channel- sees in the ultraviolet light and searches for hot stars and quasars, studying aurora and weather on planets in our solar system
- High Resolution Channel- takes extremely detailed pictures of the inner regions of galaxies, and searches for planets
ACS replaced the Faint Object Camera in 2002, the last of Hubble’s original instruments.
In January 2007, ACS experienced an electrical short that put two of its three cameras out of commission. ACS repair work was one of the objectives for Servicing Mission 4. The repair improved the reliability of the power system and the imaging performance of the wide field camera.