The Photon Detector Assembly (PDA) instrument from the Hubble Space Telescope was used in the telescope’s faint-object camera - its ‘telephoto lens’. The instrument can detect individual particles - photons - of visible and ultraviolet light and magnify them by 100,000 times to reveal the faintest of cosmic light sources.
After a 12-year working life aboard Hubble, the camera was returned to Earth aboard the Space Shuttle in 2002. The PDA was designed for the European Space Agency by a team led by UCL’s Professor Alec Boksenberg (born 1936).
With the help of this instrument to count photons, Hubble has become one of the most successful space missions ever, continuing to return images and data from the farthest regions of space after more than 20 years of service.
- University College London
- Key Individuals
- Alec Boksenberg,