Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys marks 20th year in space

On 7 March, NASA and the European Space Agency marked the 20th anniversary of the Advanced Camera for Surveys, or ACS, aboard the Hubble Space Telescope. With a wavelength range extending from the ultraviolet through the visible and into the near-infrared regions of the spectrum, the ACS has provided many of Hubble’s most spectacular images, revealing uncounted galactic splendours and details, glimpses of the earliest galaxies and providing insights about the inner workings of stars, clusters, nebulae and other deep space denizens.

To mark the anniversary, NASA and ESA showed off prime examples of the camera’s work over the years:

A collection of images captured by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys during the instrument’s two decades in space. Closeups available here. Image: NASA, ESA

“There was a sense that ACS would substantially change the way astronomy from space could be done,” said Marco Chiaberge, an ESA/AURA astronomer and calibration lead for the ACS instrument. “The surveys performed with the ACS led to groundbreaking work for fields such as galaxy evolution, large scale structures, searches for massive exoplanets and more. The impact on the public was also immense because of its unprecedented images.”

Added Dan Coe, an ESA/AURA astronomer who was part of the ACS team: “Two decades into its mission, the ACS continues to deliver ground-breaking science and some of the most incredible images of the distant Universe, and everything in between. Looking back through the archive of ACS images reminds us of the vast diversity of galaxies, colours and stories that have been shared with the world.”