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Halley Multicolor Camera (HMC)

NSSDC ID: 1985-056A-01
Mission Name: Giotto
Principal Investigator: Dr. Horst Uwe Keller


The Halley Multicolor Camera (HMC) is designed to provide high-resolution images of the nucleus and the coma of Halley's comet in nine colors and two polarizations. The camera operates in a spin-scan mode and uses a 1-m focal length Ritchey-Chretien telescope with an effective f number of 7.68. The instanteous field of view is 1.5 deg with no vignetting and the whole sphere can be viewed using rotation of the camera, tilting of the 45-deg deflecting mirror, and the spacecraft spin. The entrance collimator is at 90 deg with respect to the telescope axis of symmetry, which is the axis of rotation for the whole system. The light is deflected by 90 deg by a mirror that can be adjusted by about 1 deg about an axis perpendicular to the plane of symmetry of the telescope. The sensors are two area charge-coupled devices (CCD) and one Reticon. The CCDs have two segments each that provide 390 x 292 pixels while the Reticon has 2 x 936 pixels. The pixel size in micrometers is 22.3 x 22.3 for the CCDs and 30 x 375 for the Reticon. The spectral response of the whole system is about 350 to 1100 nm and a filter wheel is used to obtain 4 bands simultaneously for color and polarization or 11 broad and narrow bands alternately. The resolution in observing the comet is 11 m/pixel at a slant range of 500 km.

Alternate Names

  • HMC

Facts in Brief

Mass: 13.51 kg
Power (avg): 11.5 W
Bit rate (avg): 20.058 bps

Funding Agencies

  • Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France)
  • Max-Planck-Institut (Federal Republic of Germany)
  • National Research Council-Italian Space Commission (Italy)


  • Planetary Science: Small Bodies

Additional Information

Questions or comments about this experiment can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams.



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Klaus WilhelmCo-InvestigatorMax-Planck-Institut fur
Prof. Ludwig F. B. BiermannCo-InvestigatorMax-Planck-Institut fur Extraterrestrische Physik 
Dr. Cristiano B. CosmoviciCo-InvestigatorDeutsche Forschungs-und Versuchsenstalt fuer Luft-und
Prof. Claude ArpignyCo-InvestigatorInstitut d'
Dr. Horst Uwe KellerGeneral ContactMax-Planck-Institut fur
Dr. Roger Maurice BonnetCo-InvestigatorEuropean Space Agency 
Prof. Cesare BarbieriCo-InvestigatorInstituto di
Dr. Claude JamarCo-InvestigatorUniversite
Prof. David W. HughesCo-InvestigatorUniversity of
Mr. Peter SeigeCo-InvestigatorDeutsche Forschungs-und Versuchsenstalt fuer Luft-und Raumfahrt 
Mr. S. CazesCo-InvestigatorCNRS, Laboratoire de Physique Stellar 
Prof. Giuseppe ColomboCo-InvestigatorUniversita degli Studi di Padova 
Dr. Walter F. HuebnerCo-InvestigatorLos Alamos National Laboratory 
Dr. D. MalaiseCo-InvestigatorInstitut d'Astrophysique 
Dr. Piero BenvenutiCo-InvestigatorInstituto di
Dr. W. A. DelamereCo-InvestigatorBall Aerospace Systems Division 
Prof. Fred L. WhippleCo-InvestigatorSmithsonian Astrophysical
Dr. Wolfgang K.H. SchmidtCo-InvestigatorMax-Planck-Institut fur

Selected References

Kramm, J. R., et al., Image restoration using the point spread function of the Halley multicolour camera, Geophys. Res. Lett., 14, No. 7, 677-680, July 1987.

Huebner, W. F., et al., Model for intensity profiles of dust jets near the nucleus of comet Halley, Icarus, 76, No. 1, 78-88, Oct. 1988.

Curdt, W., and U. Keller, Large dust particles along the Giotto trajectory, Icarus, 86, No. 1, 305-313, July 1990.

Schmidt, W. K. H., et al., The Giotto Halley multicolour camera, In--The Giotto Mission--Its Scientific Investigations, ESA SP-1077, edited by R. Reinhard and B. Battrick, pp. 149-172, Mar. 1986.

Keller, H. U., et al., First Halley multicolour camera imaging results from Giotto, Nature, 321, No. 6067, 320-325, May 1986.

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