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How Powerful Is the Camera on the Hubble Space Telescope?

The Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, known as WFPC2, served as the main imaging instrument on the Hubble Space Telescope for more than 25 years. It has captured more than 135,000 of the most stunning photographs of the universe ever seen, and it’s been said that if a human could see as well as WFPC2, he or she would be able to read a newspaper from a mile (1.6 km) away.

WFPC2 was not the camera onboard the Hubble when it was launched in 1990. The original was unable to focus correctly, so in 1993, astronauts replaced the camera with a second-generation version.

A window to the unknown:

  • In 2009, astronauts installed a more advanced imaging system on the Hubble and brought WFPC2 back to Earth. It’s on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.
  • Hubble has photographed galaxies in all stages of evolution, helping scientists to understand how they form.
  • The telescope is an instrument open to the entire astronomical community. Any astronomer in the world can request time on the telescope.
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