Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3)
The Ball Aerospace-built Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) is the next-generation visible-imaging instrument for the Hubble Space Telescope.
Ball Aerospace developed the optical assemblies, instrument electronics, and detectors for WFC3 to improve Hubble’s discovery efficiency by a factor of approximately 30, and to extend its outstanding imaging performance.
WFC3 will be sensitive to wavelengths from the near-ultraviolet to the near-infrared spectrum. This broad range expands our ability to make new discoveries and to understand existing data about the universe and galaxies. Using a 4,000 x 4,000 pixel charge coupled device detector (the same technology that exists in a video camera) and a 1,000 x 1,000 pixel infrared detector with a large field of view, WFC3 provides images with less background noise than previous instruments.
WFC3’s ability to capture a large field of view over a wide spectral range will offer astronomers an unprecedented opportunity to efficiently gather information on the universe, and answers questions in their complex models.
WFC3 was installed on Hubble as part of Servicing Mission 4. WFC3 replaced the Wide-Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC-2) instrument.