High Energy Astronomy Observatory (HEAO)



Washington, DC, United States

This is an x-ray image of the Crab Nebula taken with the High Energy Astronomy Observatory (HEAO)-2/Einstein Observatory. The image is demonstrated by a pulsar, which appears as a bright point due to its pulsed x-ray emissions. The strongest region of diffused emissions comes from just northwest of the pulsar, and corresponds closely to the region of brightest visible-light emission. 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.


  • Title: High Energy Astronomy Observatory (HEAO)
  • Date Created: 1979-01-01
  • Rights: MSFC
  • Album: rlobrie1

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