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Published February 1995 | public
Journal Article

The performance and calibration of WFPC2 on the Hubble Space Telescope


The WFPC2 was installed in the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) in 1993 December. Since then, the instrument has been providing high-quality images. A significant amount of calibration data has been collected to aid in the understanding of the on-orbit performance of the instrument. Generally, the behavior of the camera is similar to its performance during the system-level thermal vacuum test at JPL in 1993 May. Surprises were a significant charge-transfer-efficiency (CTE) problem and a significant growth rate in hot pixels at the original operating temperature of the CCDs (-76 °C). The operating temperature of the WFPC2 CCDs was changed to -88 °C on 1994 April 23, and significant improvements in CTE and hot pixels are seen at this temperature. In this paper we describe the on-orbit performance of the WFPC2. We discuss the optical and thermal history, the instrument throughput and stability, the PSF, the effects of undersampling on photometry, the properties of cosmic rays observed on-orbit, and the geometric distortion in the camera. We present the best techniques for the reduction of WFPC2 data, and describe the construction of calibration products including superbiases, superdarks, and fiat fields.

Additional Information

© 1995 Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Provided by the NASA Astrophysics Data System. Received 1994 July 26; accepted 1994 November 18. Based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by AURA, Inc., under Contract No. NAS 5-26555. The WFPC2 IDT is indebted to many people for enabling the instrument to fly and perform superbly. We give special thanks to the entire WFPC2 team at JPL, who built the instrument, to the entire crew of STS61 who accomplished a spectacular repair mission, to the WFPC2 personnel at STScI, and to the WF/PC IDT, who provided large quantities of knowledge and advice throughout the construction and calibration of WFPC2. Among these people, we especially appreciate the comments and work we have received from Ed Groth, Sylvia Baggett, and Christine Ritchie. This work was supported by NASA under Contract No. NAS7-918 to JPL and subcontract 959145 from JPL to Lowell Observatory.

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