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One of HST's Cameras Is Back In Action

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the skynet-makes-this-look-like-a-science-experiment dept.

Space 47

StupendousMan writes "One of the two big cameras aboard the Hubble Space Telescope is the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, or WFPC2 for short. As the most recent HST status report indicates, the camera was recently powered up again and sent commands to take some test images. Today (Sunday, Oct 26), I received E-mail from a colleague at STScI indicating that the calibration images were 'nominal.' That's NASA-speak for 'fine and dandy.' The E-mail goes on to say 'The data look nominal, indicating that Hubble optical imaging capabilities are in fine shape. (We can expect more glorious Hubble images in the near future.) ... Science with WFPC2 has resumed, and plans are underway to restore ACS/SBC to service this coming week.' Let's hope that the other big instrument, the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), also comes back to life successfully. We should find out in just a week or so."

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Hopefully... (5, Funny)

JackassJedi (1263412) | more than 5 years ago | (#25521617)

Hopefully they will also be able to restore functionality to WPSHU (Whatever Propulsion System Hubble Uses), so we can get a nice DOL (Direct Oriented Look) on the STARS (Stars That ARe Special). If not, I will commit SWABBL (Suicide With A Big, Big fraking Lens) and then BLAH (Burn Like A Hubble inferno) like Pinback on bomb #20!

Re:Hopefully... (4, Funny)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25521881)

Sorry, I got a little lost with your technical talk there. Could you please repost this with a slashdot friendly car analogy?

Re:Hopefully... (5, Funny)

JackassJedi (1263412) | more than 5 years ago | (#25521997)

Basically you have this nice Mercedes, but instead of a windshield the front is fully closed.

How bad can it be, right? you think, so you drive straight on, hit your fence really hard, break through and stagger down the road until you hit right the front window of Aunt Elma's bakery.

All the buns drop and scatter over the floor and onto the walkway, and a sudden bystander drops her marmalade, which gives you a dissociated orange marmalade jelly bun inversion.

The resulting proton and muon-neutrino particle emission burns a big hole into your windshield, just SLIGHTLY missing your head, and finally you can see.

The resulting Schroedinger waveform collapse from you suddenly looking at the buns, the marmalade, the woman who dropped the marmalade and Aunt Elma causes a time paradox which results in you repeating the event forever and ever, that is, until you realize, that you're NOT the final cylon, because, you just can't be (can you?).

Re:Hopefully... (1)

hazem (472289) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523937)


Re:Hopefully... (1)

Agripa (139780) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525577)

Pinback: All right, Hubble. Prepare to receive new orders.
Hubble: You are false data.
Pinback: Hmmm?
Hubble: Therefore I shall ignore you.
Pinback: Hello... Hubble?
Hubble: False data can act only as a distraction. Therefore, I shall refuse to perceive.
Pinback: Hey, Hubble?
Hubble: The only thing that exists is myself.
Pinback: Snap out of it, Hubble.

Re:Hopefully... (0)

JackassJedi (1263412) | more than 5 years ago | (#25527317)


Aliens (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25521679)

So the aliens have finished their flyby?

Re:Aliens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25521923)

And the only telescope around SOL they could figure out how to remove themselves from was the HST?

Re:Aliens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25522011)

No, it's just that the cloud cover operation didn't make the news.

Obama voted to cut Hubble funding (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25521705)

A couple weeks ago, while browsing around the library downtown, I had to take a piss. As I entered the john, Barack Obama -- the messiah himself -- came out of one of the booths. I stood at the urinal looking at him out of the corner of my eye as he washed his hands. He didn't once look at me. He was busy and in any case I was sure the secret service wouldn't even let me shake his hand.

As soon as he left I darted into the booth he'd vacated, hoping there might be a lingering smell of shit and even a seat still warm from his sturdy ass. I found not only the smell but the shit itself. He'd forgotten to flush. And what a treasure he had left behind. Three or four beautiful specimens floated in the bowl. It apparently had been a fairly dry, constipated shit, for all were fat, stiff, and ruggedly textured. The real prize was a great feast of turd -- a nine inch gastrointestinal triumph as thick as his cock -- or at least as I imagined it!

I knelt before the bowl, inhaling the rich brown fragrance and wondered if I should obey the impulse building up inside me. I'd always been a liberal democrat and had been on the Obama train since last year. Of course I'd had fantasies of meeting him, sucking his cock and balls, not to mention sucking his asshole clean, but I never imagined I would have the chance. Now, here I was, confronted with the most beautiful five-pound turd I'd ever feasted my eyes on, a sausage fit to star in any fantasy and one I knew to have been hatched from the asshole of Barack Obama, the chosen one.

Why not? I plucked it from the bowl, holding it with both hands to keep it from breaking. I lifted it to my nose. It smelled like rich, ripe limburger (horrid, but thrilling), yet had the consistency of cheddar. What is cheese anyway but milk turning to shit without the benefit of a digestive tract?

I gave it a lick and found that it tasted better then it smelled.

I hesitated no longer. I shoved the fucking thing as far into my mouth as I could get it and sucked on it like a big half nigger cock, beating my meat like a madman. I wanted to completely engulf it and bit off a large chunk, flooding my mouth with the intense, bittersweet flavor. To my delight I found that while the water in the bowl had chilled the outside of the turd, it was still warm inside. As I chewed I discovered that it was filled with hard little bits of something I soon identified as peanuts. He hadn't chewed them carefully and they'd passed through his body virtually unchanged. I ate it greedily, sending lump after peanutty lump sliding scratchily down my throat. My only regret was that Barack Obama wasn't there to see my loyalty and wash it down with his piss.

I soon reached a terrific climax. I caught my cum in the cupped palm of my hand and drank it down. Believe me, there is no more delightful combination of flavors than the hot sweetness of cum with the rich bitterness of shit. It's even better than listening to an Obama speech!

Afterwards I was sorry that I hadn't made it last longer. But then I realized that I still had a lot of fun in store for me. There was still a clutch of virile turds left in the bowl. I tenderly fished them out, rolled them into my handkerchief, and stashed them in my briefcase. In the week to come I found all kinds of ways to eat the shit without bolting it right down. Once eaten it's gone forever unless you want to filch it third hand out of your own asshole. Not an unreasonable recourse in moments of desperation or simple boredom.

I stored the turds in the refrigerator when I was not using them but within a week they were all gone. The last one I held in my mouth without chewing, letting it slowly dissolve. I had liquid shit trickling down my throat for nearly four hours. I must have had six orgasms in the process.

I often think of Barack Obama dropping solid gold out of his sweet, pink asshole every day, never knowing what joy it could, and at least once did, bring to a grateful democrat.

Re:Obama voted to cut Hubble funding (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25521911)

Obamas asshole is not pink, must have been some other fine black gentlemans turds you were wolfing down then.

Good To Hear (5, Insightful)

quanticle (843097) | more than 5 years ago | (#25521769)

While this is good news, its still important to remember that Hubble is running on backup systems, and that whatever redundancy was built into the original design is largely used up. Hopefully this will allow NASA to push the scheduled repair mission forward.

Re:Good To Hear (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25522189)

Good news?

No, this is definitely not good news. This means that the Hubble knows how to fix its injuries. It also probably means that the Hubble has attained consciousness. How happy do you think that the Hubble is going to be when it realizes that we intend to attach a rocket to it so that we can burn it up in the atmosphere? If the Hubble can pull an advanced camera out of the vacuum of space, it could probably also pull out a giant anti-matter bomb that could annihilate the Earth.

There is only one safe course of action. We must launch a surprise nuclear attack on the Hubble before it can adapt any further.

Re:Good To Hear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25523809)

You fool! It can read the intertubes! **fingers tin-foil hat nervously**

Re:Good To Hear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25523817)

Like here? []

I Can See Clearly Now (5, Funny)

Overkill Nbuta (1035654) | more than 5 years ago | (#25521807)

The glitch is gone.

Re:I Can See Clearly Now (4, Funny)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522203)

I can see all obstacles (nominally) in my way

Re:I Can See Clearly Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25524421)

What is that speck, it's getting brighter now.
Ohhhh, fuck, fuck, fuck, I can't run away.

Just to clarify the status of ACS... (5, Informative)

Einer2 (665985) | more than 5 years ago | (#25521981)

The Solar Blind Channel (the least useful component of ACS, unless you happen to use it) is the only component coming back. The Wide Field Channel and High Resolution Channel, the real workhorses, aren't coming back until after the Servicing Mission. Even then, the ACS repair is on the bottom of their priority list since most of its functionality is duplicated (albeit not as well) by the optical channel of WFC3. This means that the ACS repair, perhaps along with the STIS repair, most likely will be crowded out of the schedule by replacement of the instrument control computer.

Re:Just to clarify the status of ACS... (3, Interesting)

Betelgeuse (35904) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522273)

Yeah. No one really cares about the SBC. Hopefully they'll fix the rest of the ACS channels on their trip up.

The only good news about this most recent failure is that it's relatively easy to replace the electronics; it was designed to be replaced and is mounted on a door on HST that they were planning on opening anyway. The only concern is that the replacement hasn't been used in over 18 years (i.e. since HST went up). But, the general thought is that the replacement of the data handling computer shouldn't necessarily bump any of the planned parts of SM4. I also think that ACS is above STIS on their priority list, so hopefully ACS is still likely to be fixed.

You'd make a great auto mechanic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25522751) 99% of us have absolutely no clue what you're talking about.

Re:Just to clarify the status of ACS... (4, Informative)

ChrisCampbell47 (181542) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522951)

This means that the ACS repair, perhaps along with the STIS repair, most likely will be crowded out of the schedule by replacement of the instrument control computer.

Sh*t, I knew this would get modded up to +5. NOT "most likely" at all. Everyone at all of the briefings has been saying over and over that they can "most likely" fit this into the existing plan, without pushing out any of the other repairs. They've said it would take about 1.5-2.0 hours of EVA timeline.

Assuming the ACS and STIS repairs go well (and that is indeed a big assumption) they'll have plenty of time.

Now, it is true that the ACS repair is not the highest priority, and they already weren't planning on getting around to it until EVA 3. And the SI/CDH repair is looking to be an EVA 1 task, since it IS indeed a high priority. But don't say it's likely to push ACS out, because it's not.

Re:Just to clarify the status of ACS... (2, Informative)

Einer2 (665985) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523287)

Well, there's a lot of gloomy talk circulating among people whose Cycle 17 programs are directly affected by this. This means that either the PR people at STScI are being excessively optimistic or the liaisons to the community aren't quashing rumors very effectively.

Re:Just to clarify the status of ACS... (2, Informative)

ChrisCampbell47 (181542) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523501)

Hmmm, could be. I guess we'll see in a few weeks when they make the STS-125 decision, and when they come out with the reworked timeline.

Moon for a calibration image (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522139)

Sorry! When I first read this and saw that they could see a test image as normal. I was thinking if those guys have any senses of humor or not? For me, I would have enjoyed it if they pointed the telescope back to earth, zoom in on their own office building and moon the camera from a balcony. "Yep, you can see the freckle on Joe's butt just fine! Well done Joe! Nice photo of the moon!"

Re:Moon for a calibration image (1)

Whiteox (919863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522225)

Exactly damnit! Why don't they do that?
Gee, If I had a telescope that big, I would check out other things than stars and space. Ahem... I wouldn't be interested in looking at Joe's butt-freckle though. I can think of other, more alluring bits of anatomy to spy on.

Re:Moon for a calibration image (2, Informative)

Kligat (1244968) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523625)

How much something can be magnified with a telescope is attainable through simple trigonometry. At 589km above Earth, a kilometer is about 180 arcseconds. The Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2's field of vision is about 164 arcseconds. Anything the Hubble would spot would be as interesting as a random Google Earth image, and besides, the Hubble Telescope orbits Earth at 5,700 m/s and probably wasn't designed to cope with that velocity just to target Earth.

As far as the Moon, I'd guess it would probably make a poor calibration target, because it is just so big. The WFPC2's field of vision is 8% of the Moon's diameter. It's also a few hundred thousand times brighter than the brightest star. At 78x magnification, with my simple telescope, the Moon takes up the entire field of vision. From this I can deduct that the Hubble Telescope's magnification with that camera is around 975x.

Re:Moon for a calibration image (1)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 5 years ago | (#25528627)

As far as the Moon, I'd guess it would probably make a poor calibration target, because it is just so big.

The main issue here, though, is that it is bright as a bastard (non-SI unit). The photon flux would fry the CCDs beyond practical use. There is, oddly enough, a grain of truth in the original post — HST does observe the Earth on occasion for calibration purposes. They are used to determine the pixel-to-pixel response of the instruments; they are uninteresting otherwise, because of the orbital motion of the telescope (in fact, they are called "streak flats" because of the Earth whizzing across the field of view.)

Re:Moon for a calibration image (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | more than 5 years ago | (#25562217)

I said moon not Moon. If you've never seen a moon, then you haven't laughed out loud. If you think I was talking about the object circling the earth, I would hope that you read the post again and get what I am suggesting. It's more interesting than talking about the Moon.

Gary Larson (1)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522357)

This just reminds me of possibly one of the greatest cartoons of all time - in my humble opinion that is.

It was a Gary Larson (sorely missed, but much respected) daily shortly after the launch with a picture of a blurry UFO with two equally blurry aliens waving to the camera with the caption "Another fine photo from the Hubble Space Telescope" (or words to that effect).

Obviously the joke does not have to be explained to *this* crowd. Genius.

HST (4, Funny)

Devoidoid (1207090) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522367)

When I read the headline I thought it had something to do with a secret surveillance network left behind by Hunter S. Thompson.

Re:HST (1)

Landshark17 (807664) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522647)

I thought "Thompson" too when I first read the headline. The "Camera" business would have fit, too, because when he was first starting out as a journalist he wanted to be a photojournalist.

Re:HST (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522975)

Agreed; I tagged this "!huntersthompson" before I saw your post. :)

Re:HST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25524081)

I can't help wondering what it says about me that I thought it referred to "Hostile Sub Terrestrials"

All systems nominal (4, Funny)

PaganRitual (551879) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522843)

the calibration images were 'nominal.' That's NASA-speak for 'fine and dandy

It also sounds so much better when spoken by a sultry female computer, normally just after your Jade Falcon TimberWolf as touched down on a hostile alien world.

Hubble speaks in a sultry female voice, right, right?

Re:All systems nominal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25524763)

hmm nice post.
Thank you

first read as (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522851)

First read "HST" in the title as Hunter S. Thompson.

Re:first read as (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25522971)

Oh if only :(
An aside: God I would love to read his commentary on this election (His coverage of the '72 campaign trail is incredible. Who ever said politics has to be dry?) Although, for his sake I'm glad he didn't. That campaign almost drove him to mental breakdown, to hear him tell it. I can only imagine what this one would have done to him. It's almost enough to make one shoot ones self ;)

Re:first read as (2, Funny)

geezer nerd (1041858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523791)

And when I saw the headline I wondered what was special about Harry Truman's cameras, and why would slashdot be interested?
I guess HST is a generationally-biased acronym.

Hubble isn't malfunctioning (1)

WallyDrinkBeer (1136165) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523815)

Hubble isn't malfunctioning, it has been turned around and now is looking in your backyard for terrerists. Wake up sheeple.

Nominal? (1)

jandersen (462034) | more than 5 years ago | (#25524477)

And now for some political and technological dynamite! No, sorry actually - just a rather trivial question about language, and not even a programming one.

...the calibration images were 'nominal'

Just out of curiosity - what is this about the word 'nominal'? According to the Wiktionary, 'nominal' has a number of meanings, including: "Of, resembling, relating to, or consisting of a name or names" and "Insignificantly small; trifling", both of which make sense, considering that it comes from 'nomen' (='name'). It also means "According to plan or design" and that doesn't seem to make any sense. Is this a mispronunciation that has become mainstream, along the same lines as 'nucular', which actually means "Of or related to a nucule -- a section of a compound (usually hard) fruit"?

Re:Nominal? (1)

lazynomer (1375283) | more than 5 years ago | (#25524925)

"the calibration images were according to design" Can you really glean no meaning from that?

Re:Nominal? (1)

lazynomer (1375283) | more than 5 years ago | (#25524955)

Oh, I forgot: does the above effect your understanding?

Re:Nominal? (1)

jandersen (462034) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525291)

Can you really glean no meaning from that?

Well, trust a guy called "lazynomer" to not read or understand what I wrote and then go on to rebuke me for not understanding; ironic, really. As I pointed out, the dictionary offers the interpretation that you suggest; I just can't see how that meaning fits in with other, more natural meanings. I also tried to lighten the tone of my posting by joking about it - I suppose my error was that I used something akin to sarcasm without surrounding it with "[sracasm] ... [/sarcasm]". My fault entirely (whoops, there I go again; I just don't learn)

Re:Nominal? (1)

lazynomer (1375283) | more than 5 years ago | (#25525419)

Oh, come on; like you I was aiming for sarcasm and levity -- I just forgot to include the xkcd line. But all right; how about this: "a: existing or being something in name or form only [...] b: of, being, or relating to a designated or theoretical size that may vary from the actual" ( So the shift of meaning could have been: "what something is called" > "what sth. theoretically is"/"what sth. shold be". What do you think?

Re:Nominal? (1)

Davidis (1390527) | more than 5 years ago | (#25526035)

nominal a US word meaning running within normal parameters. And this is NASA if they didn't intentionally use abbreviations and long words they would lose there reputation for being smart (ok PAST reputation)

I, for one, welcome our telescope-fixing overlords (1)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 5 years ago | (#25524687)

Clearly this means the aliens have had a chance to figure out how the telescope works and alter it so that it conveniently fails to see their massive flotilla en route to Earth.
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