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By Jennifer Sterba
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 12, 1997

Hubble to get new UA infrared camera

The space shuttle Discovery lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla. early yesterday with the UA's Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer on board.

NICMOS, which is expected to be installed on the Hubble Space Telescope Friday, will give Hubble the ability to "see" the temperatures of distant objects. Hubble, launched in 1990, was built with the potential for upgrades, Hill said.

John Hill, director of the Large Binocular Telescope Project, said NICMOS is a replacement instrument that will "plug" into the telescope.

With NICMOS, the farther away the object is, the redder it will appear on the infrared spectrum. NICMOS will allow astronomers to explore some of the oldest regions of the universe.

Discovery is carrying a seven-member, all-veteran crew on a mission planned to last 10 days.

Hubble will be anchored to the shuttle just above the shuttle's cargo bay. If everything goes as planned, the $105 million instrument will be installed early Friday morning during a six-hour space walk.

"We're hoping everything goes smoothly," Hill said.

Hill said astronomers will know Friday if everything "fits OK." He said a "liveliness check" will determine if the electronics have been correctly connected.

Various engineering tests will be performed over the next couple of months to determine if NICMOS is functioning correctly.

Hill said the final details of observations using NICMOS are due later this month. Observation scheduling will depend on the position of the telescope in the sky, he said.

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