How does Hubble Telescope capture it's images [and film imaging in space]?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by ted_smith, Jan 3, 2009.

  1. ted_smith

    ted_smith Member

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    What image capture technology does the Hubble Telescope use? The telescope was launched in 1990 so I am curious to know whether it captures images on film or digital (in light of it's age). If film, what sort? Just curious.
     
  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Digital.

    No analog sensing has been done since the mid 80s IIRC. Kodak made BIMAT film for use in space at that time. It was either processed and scanned in space digitally and transmitted, or returned to earth.

    PE
     
  3. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    Hubble is digital.
     
  4. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    PE,
    Just out of curiosity, how does one go about developing film in space? The mind boggles...

    Richard Wasserman


     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Last time I was at George Eastman House, they had the entire BIMAT system on display. Basically, the film part was dry and there was a second thin film that was wetted with an activator/fixer. These were laminated just after exposure, and developed to completion.

    The images were scanned and transmitted back to earth.

    Grant Haist was one of the researchers on the project, IIRC.

    PE
     
  6. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    The problem is that there is no good way of replenishing the film supply in space. Shuttle missions are costly to say the least, and we haven't always had the Shuttle. A photo satellite's useful life was determined largely by the film supply it could carry.

    The other interesting aspect was retrieving film canisters. Basically, they were ejected by the satellite and an airplane literally caught them during descent. I'm sure some of those flights had their "moments". Not a 100% reliable method (nor cheap) but it was used for a good share of years.
     
  7. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Well, it ain't analog...

    "1990 ... In light of it's age" Age?, AGE?, AGE???? The thing's not old enough to drink beer. My father was reminiscing last night about the time he went to see Lenin speak in fomenting the Russian Revolution. And he's that's not _that_ old. 110, now you're getting old.

    In any case the conceptual design started in 1969, with real design work beginning in '81. It carries multiple imaging systems, most of which have been upgraded over the years.

    CCD's for imaging have been around since the early 70's.

    However, space missions use only proven technology and tend to be many years behind the 'state of the art'. 1970's missions, like Voyager, used magnetic deflection vidicons and video tape recorders - the image was captured in near-real time and then sent back to earth very slowly. A very slow signal can be more easily picked from the noise of the eather, allowing the satellite to use a very low power transmitter.

    By the time Hubble came around CCDs for space imaging were reasonably mature and in wide use in surveillance satellites. The Hubble has been described as a spy satellite that happens to be pointing the wrong way.

    The wide-field camera of Hubble eye-candy fame is a CCD array imaging through a multitude of fine bandpass filters. The images are then 'false coloured' to translate the image for human eyesight.

    Googling will reveal web sites with more Hubble information than you could ever want.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2009
  8. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    Hey guys, no talking about digital cameras here on APUG!

    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubble_Space_Telescope

    It had 2 cameras when launched and 3 spectrographs, each with digital cameras/chips. They've been upgraded several times over the years as digital has gotten better. They also use cooling systems to reduce noise.
     
  9. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    CCDs are analog...
     
  10. nc5p

    nc5p Member

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    Are they linear like scanners or 2 dimensional arrays?
     
  11. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    That aspect of satellite imaging always struck me as just absolutely hairbrained, yet gutsy, all at once. Guess they had to do what they had to do, based on the available technology.

    What was that cheesy Cold War movie with Rock Hudson, where there was some firefight up in the Arctic over an ejected film canister that each side wanted to possess?

    Ice Station Zebra, that's it!!
     
  12. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Dang that PE...I was thinking of Little Green Men with punk hairdos working at galactic minimum wages.

    Vaughn
     
  13. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Yes, IIRC, the hair was blue and we got Cr. 15 / hour. (Cr = Credits, the galactic standard)

    When my hair was blue they called me Parakeet. But then they did that in Beverly Hills Cop so I lost my cachet. TSK.

    All I can say is Nov Shmoz Kapop! So there.

    PE
     
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  15. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Yeah Mike, Ice Station Zebra. And having to catch those film canisters is probably what spawned digital imagery to start with, I would bet.
     
  16. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Found this;

     
  17. B&Jdude

    B&Jdude Member

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    Photo Engineer: Just remember that scram gravy ain't wavy, farno farno, and foo, too! Smiff
     
  18. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    PE,

    Thanks, but I'm still a bit boggled. Wasn't temperature control a bit difficult with the sun either being full on or off, or did these satellites have space heaters to warm them up?

    Richard Wasserman


     
  19. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Richard, this device had everything needed to do the job in total vacuum and at orbital temperatures!

    It is pretty big, about 3 ft on a side, and about 2 ft high.

    PE
     
  20. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    Great - I can talk about my Sony A100 on APUG then!
     
  21. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    Thanks, I'm sure it is quite an impressive system.

    Richard


     
  22. Poohblah

    Poohblah Member

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    CCD's are analog, but the data gathered from them are often immediately converted to digital information for storage, just like in digicams. I'm sure that's what the Hubble does.
     
  23. ben-s

    ben-s Member

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  24. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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  25. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    CCD's are analog devices, as are the chips in D cameras. The D part happens in a converter. Un-digitized output contains the most information, but it has to be managed, and that usually involves a computer.

    I have a very expensive video camera that makes very good looking pictures that uses CCD's but is fully analog. It is completely possible for an imaging device to be fully electronic, but not be digital. Many people don't realize this. Hubble may be an example of that- the digitizing may take place on the ground. IDK for sure, but it would make sense to have the most unaltered information available, and the highest resolution of anything is always analog.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2009
  26. Clay2

    Clay2 Member

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    I may be wrong but last upgrade to the Hubble's computer system was an Intel 486DX chip. The
    first with built-in math co-processor. The Hubble runs no background crap, Windows, e-mail, screen
    saver, pretty pictures. It just crunches numbers. Wonder if next upgrade will be to an Intel Pentium 1 ?
    I'm still running a Pentium-Pro myself. I don't use computers for photography or music, just for
    number crunching.

    Best regards,

    /Clay