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 is 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 gives astronomers an unprecedented opportunity to efficiently gather information on the universe.
WFC3 was installed on Hubble as part of Servicing Mission 4. WFC3 replaced the Wide-Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC-2) instrument.