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Proceedings Paper

On-orbit management of contaminants within the Hubble Space Telescope widefield planetary camera and their effect on instrument performance
Author(s): John W. MacKenty; Glenn Schneider; Sylvia M. Baggett; Dana D. Mitchell; Christine E. Ritchie; William Brian Sparks
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Paper Abstract

The Wide Field Planetary Camera (WF/PC) onboard the Hubble Space Telescope contains contaminants which condense on the windows in front of each CCD detector. These contaminants are UV opaque and increase with time to the extent that after several months they block 50% of the flux at 300 nm. Also, when the contaminants are warmed above -40 degree(s)C and then returned to the normal CCD operating temperature of -87 degree(s)C, particles form and severely degrade the image quality. The windows may be temporarily cleaned by raising their temperature to 0 degree(s)C. However, this results in a change in the structure of the flat field due to the partial removal of the UV flood which was applied after launch to suppress Quantum Efficiency Hysteresis in the CCDs. Repeated decontaminations will reintroduce the QEH and necessitate another time consuming UV flood and recalibration of the instrument. After 22 months of on-orbit operation, the contaminants could no longer be fully removed by the decontamination procedure. This paper describes the current state of the contaminants, what has been deduced concerning their properties and sources, the results of our efforts to remove them, and some lessons for future space-based instruments using cryogenic UV sensitive detectors.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 November 1993
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 1945, Space Astronomical Telescopes and Instruments II, (1 November 1993); doi: 10.1117/12.158770
Show Author Affiliations
John W. MacKenty, Space Telescope Science Institute (United States)
Glenn Schneider, Computer Sciences Corp. and Space Telescope Science Institute (United States)
Sylvia M. Baggett, Space Telescope Science Institute (United States)
Dana D. Mitchell, Space Telescope Science Institute (United States)
Christine E. Ritchie, Space Telescope Science Institute (United States)
William Brian Sparks, Space Telescope Science Institute (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1945:
Space Astronomical Telescopes and Instruments II
Pierre Y. Bely; James B. Breckinridge, Editor(s)

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