Tuesday, January 30, 2007

My eyes, my eyes!

One of our best eyes in the sky has gone to silicon heaven. The Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) on the Hubble Space Telescope has decided that it's had enough of taking photos of bits of the sky for us Astronomers to analyse (and for the general public to go "Ooh, isn't that pretty"), and has gone and broken itself - damn those lazy CCDs, you send them into space and ask them to do a perfectly reasonable job, but sooner or later they want out and just die on you without a word of warning.... It seems that there's no fix and that the people who's observing programs will have been cancelled are either buggered, or will have to wait around until the proposed camera upgrading shuttle mission next year. Depsite my grumbling about the camera it has provided a wealth of images and science over it's short 4ish year life. Hopefully people can make do with the two cameras that are still functioning - WFC2 and NICMOS.