Ridiculous names for super serious scientific instruments: camera edition

Absurd names for cameras and imagers, ranked

Image Of Spiral Galaxy NGC 1068

MIRACLE - Mid-InfraRed Array Camera of Least Effort

In 1991, a cobbled-together device dubbed the Mid-InfraRed Array Camera of Least Effort, or MIRACLE, observed the galaxy NGC 1068 (seen here in a 2010 composite image).Composite image: X-ray (NASA/CXC/MIT/C.Canizares, D.Evans et al), Optical (NASA/STScI), Radio (NSF/NRAO/VLA)

Scientists can't resist giving absurd names to even the most serious, expensive instruments. If you think there are some silly telescope names out there, just check out the acronyms researchers are choosing for cameras and imagers.

LUCIFER - LBT near-infrared spectroscopic Utility with Camera and Integral Field unit for Extragalactic Research

LUCIFER

It takes some selective letter choices to get LUCIFER out of "LBT (Large Binocular Telescope) near-infrared spectroscopic Utility with Camera and Integral Field unit for Extragalactic Research" [capitals ours]. But it's worth it if we can refer to an instrument that detects near-infrared light as the literal devil. Unfortunately, fun-hating scientists changed the device's name to LUCI in 2012.Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics
DAZLE - Dark Ages Z (redshift) Lyman-alpha Explorer

DAZLE

The Dark Ages Z (redshift) Lyman-alpha Explorer looks for a type of emission released by hot hydrogen. Distant galaxies produce this signal as the universe expands and they draw away from us. Looking for galaxies far, far away? Now that goal is...dazzling.University of Cambridge Institute of Astronomy
EPIC - Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera

EPIC

"You know what we need for our DSCOVR (Deep Space Climate Observatory) satellite, bro?" "A camera?" "A totally epic camera." — The guys who named the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera, probably. This instrument takes multiple shots of the same view, each with a different color filter, and combines them into a single epic image. You can see EPIC's first photograph, taken July 6, 2015, above.NASA / Wikimedia Commons
FORCAST Faint Object infraRed CAmera for the SOFIA Telescope

FORCAST

The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, is a telescope that photographs the sky from a Boeing 747SP aircraft. Its eight instruments include the Faint Object infraRed CAmera for the SOFIA Telescope, nicknamed FORCAST. Researchers can use FORCAST to image dust clouds and star formation—but not to predict the weather, because that would make too much sense.Universities Space Research Association
MONICA, MOSAIC (pictured here), and MIRLIN

A trio of alliterative infrared cameras

MONICA (MONtreal Infrared CAmera), MOSAIC (MDM/Ohio State/ALADDIN Infrared Camera) (pictured here), and MIRLIN (Mid-InfraRed Large Imager) all snap images within the infrared light range. Although they are run by different institutions and used for different purposes, they all managed to nab overly-complex acronyms that start with the letter "M."MOSAIC image from Ohio State

Popular Science is looking for the best-named scientific instruments. We're concentrating on physical devices, rather than algorithms, surveys, systems, or processes—which means amazing names like GANDALF (Gas AND Absorption Line Fitting algorithm) and GADZOOKS! (Gadolinium Antineutrino Detector Zealously Outperforming Old Kamiokande, Super!) won't make the cut.