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Session 35 - Proposed Instruments and Programs.
Display session, Tuesday, June 09
Atlas Ballroom,

[35.08] Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) - A Facility Instrument For The Hubble Space Telescope

D. S. Leckrone, E. S. Cheng, L. D. Feinberg (HST Project, NASA/GSFC), J. T. Trauger (JPL), F. D. Macchetto, J. W. MacKenty (STScI)

The planned mission life of the Hubble Space Telescope has recently been extended to 2010. To insure HST’s capabilities to carry out superb imaging at optical and near-UV wavelengths to the end of its life, the HST Project has been authorized to lead the development of a new, radial-bay camera to replace the current Wide Field/Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2). This new instrument, Wide Field Camera 3, will be inserted into HST during the final servicing mission in late 2002 or early 2003, and will serve as a backup to our primary imaging instrument, the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), which will fly in late 1999 or early 2000. To develop an excellent camera at low cost, extensive use will be made of returned HST flight hardware, flight spare hardware and existing subsystem designs. These include the refurbished outer structure, external thermal radiator, shutter mechanism and filter wheel assembly from WFPC1, which was returned to the ground in 1993. The WFC3 detector will be a 4000x4000 pixel CCD and associated electronics similar to that used in the ACS. The detector coatings will be selected to provide excellent sensitivity from 2000 to 10,000 A. A large inventory of spare filters from WFPC2 and ACS is available, but the community will be involved in the selection of the optimum filter set. Development of WFC3 is the responsibility of a team made up of the HST Project, JPL, Ball Aerospace, and the STScI. Because WFC3 will be a facility instrument, it is important that the broad community of astronomers who will one day use this instrument have the opportunity to contribute scientific advice and oversight to its development. To this end, the ST ScI has solicited brief proposals from astronomers to serve on a WFC3 Science Oversight Committee.

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