NASA and the Southwest Research Institute, along with scientific collaborators from JPL, APL, and the University of Maryland, developed both an innovative new wide-field ultraviolet (UV) imager for use aboard the Space Shuttle, and an airborne version of the instrument for use aboard high performance aircraft. Two additional missions are planned. The instrument is called the Southwest Ultraviolet Imaging System, or SWUIS (pronounced like "swiss"). The primary objective of the first SWUIS Hale-Bopp Imaging experiment was to obtain image sequences of Hale-Bopp to study its coma and tail morphology and response to solar wind conditions during the scientifically-interesting, classical turn-off phase as the comet moves outbound beyond 2 AU. The second flight on STS-93, flown aboard Columbia from 23-27 July 1999, has UV imaging objectives of the Moon, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, and a search for Vulcanoids. A third SWUIS mission is planned to fly a spectrograph in 2000 or 2001.
Quicklook UV image of the Moon taken by the SWUIS instrument aboard Shuttle Columbia on STS-93. Taken at a wavelength of 260 nm.