The Faint Object Camera built by the European Space Agency for the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) contains three optical relays capable of reimaging the HST focal plane with high spatial resolution at F/48, F-96, and F/288 focal ratios. Recent simulations and ground calibrations have demonstrated the capability of carrying out high quality astronomical observations down to 15-20 milliarcsecond spatial resolution and limiting visual magnitudes of 29-30. In this paper, the results of these tests and calculations are presented and discussed in the context of the scientific capabilities of the mission. Particular emphasis will be placed on the optical characteristics of the F/288 high resolution apodizer which promise a revolution in our understanding of the structure of very faint nebulosity around bright nearby objects such as planetary systems around young stellar objects and ejecta from evolved mass losing stars.
"Imaging Capabilities Of The Faint Object Camera On The Space Telescope", Proc. SPIE 1130, New Technologies for Astronomy, (26 September 1989); doi: 10.1117/12.961513; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.961513