November 21, 2003
You're invited to help NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory celebrate 10 years of dazzling imagery of the universe from the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 onboard NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.
The main camera for most of the mission has been JPL's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, installed in December 1993.
The original Wide Field and Planetary Camera was on Hubble when it was first carried into space by the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1990. Scientists soon discovered, however, that a tiny manufacturing error in the curvature of the telescope's main mirror made it impossible to put the telescope in sharp focus for any of its science instruments. Rather than try to fix the 2.4 meter (8-foot) diameter mirror, JPL engineers discovered that making an optical correction to the new instrument they planned to send to Hubble could remedy the unfortunate situation.
In December of 1993, spacewalking astronauts from the Shuttle Endeavour installed the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 on Hubble. Having equipped the new camera with optical "glasses" to cancel out the error in the telescope's main mirror, JPL engineers saved the imaging element of the Hubble mission and the telescope has been sending colorful snapshots of space back to Earth ever since.
To mark the 10th anniversary of the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, NASA invites you to cast a vote for the camera's most impressive image. Astronomers at JPL have narrowed the field to their top ten favorite pictures, but it is up to you to choose the most spectacular image.
Picture contestants include snapshots of bright new stars forming from pockets of interstellar gas, a blue super-giant star at the end of its lifecycle, impact areas of a comet crashing into Jupiter, and many more remarkable images.
Vote for your favorite snapshot at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/flash/wfpc2 .
Voting will continue throughout November and the most popular image will be unveiled December 5 on the JPL website. That's ten years to the week since Endeavour brought the camera to Hubble
The Advanced Camera for Surveys, managed by Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md., was installed on Hubble in March 2002, and now serves as the main camera. Scientists, meanwhile, continue to pore over images from the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, regularly unveiling new discoveries.
The Space Telescope Science Institute is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., for NASA, under contract with the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international co-operation between the European Space Agency and NASA. The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.
Additional information about the Hubble Space Telescope is available at http://hubblesite.org .
Media Contact: JPL/Lisa Townsend (818) 393-5464