The HSP was designed to take advantage of the lack of atmospheric scintillation for a telescope in orbit, as well as to provide good ultraviolet performance. Integrations as short as 10 μ
s were possible over a broad wavelength range (1200 Å to 8000 Å
), and polarimetry was also possible. Observations were carried out through aperture diameters of 1.0" with the visual and ultraviolet detectors, and 0.65" with the polarimetry detector.
The HSP detectors consisted of four image dissector tubes and one photomultiplier tube. A variety of ultraviolet and visual filters and polarizers was available. This instrument was used for only a relatively small fraction (5%) of HST
observing from Cycles 1 to 3 since the HSP science program was among the more severely compromised by spherical aberration. Only limited instrument expertise is available at STScI in support of HSP Archival Research. The extremely high speed with which some HSP data were acquired remains unmatched by all other HST