High Energy Astronomy Observatory (HEAO)




Like the Crab Nebula, the Vela Supernova Remnant has a radio pulsar at its center. In this image taken by the High Energy Astronomy Observatory (HEAO)-2/Einstein Observatory, the pulsar appears as a point source surrounded by weak and diffused emissions of x-rays. HEAO-2's computer processing system was able to record and display the total number of x-ray photons (a tiny bundle of radiant energy used as the fundamental unit of electromagnetic radiation) on a scale along the margin of the picture. The HEAO-2, the first imaging and largest x-ray telescope built to date, was capable of producing actual photographs of x-ray objects. Shortly after launch, the HEAO-2 was nicknamed the Einstein Observatory by its scientific experimenters in honor of the centernial of the birth of Albert Einstein, whose concepts of relativity and gravitation have influenced much of modern astrophysics, particularly x-ray astronomy. The HEAO-2, designed and developed by TRW, Inc. under the project management of the Marshall Space Flight Center, was launched aboard an Atlas/Centaur launch vehicle on November 13, 1978.

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  • Title: High Energy Astronomy Observatory (HEAO)
  • Date Created: 1980-01-01
  • Rights: MSFC
  • Album: rlobrie1