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  1. #1
    ted_smith's Avatar
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    How does Hubble Telescope capture it's images [and film imaging in space]?

    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.
    Ted Smith Photography
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  2. #2
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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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

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    Hubble is digital.
    When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.

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  4. #4

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

    Richard Wasserman


    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    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

  5. #5
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by disfromage View Post
    PE,
    Just out of curiosity, how does one go about developing film in space? The mind boggles...

    Richard Wasserman
    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. #6
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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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.
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  7. #7
    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ted_smith View Post
    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.
    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 Nicholas Lindan; 01-03-2009 at 05:23 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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  8. #8

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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. #9
    tiberiustibz's Avatar
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    CCDs are analog...

  10. #10

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    Are they linear like scanners or 2 dimensional arrays?

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