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High-Energy Replicated Optics - HERO

The X-ray astronomy group at MSFC, in collaboration with other MSFC researchers and local area universities, is at the forefront in the development of grazing incidence optics for X-ray astronomy. We have built and flown numerous balloon-borne telescope-detector configurations and continue to perfect the fabrication, alignment, and testing of mirrors. Other applications of this advanced technology include, among others, neutron focusing and concentrators for small animal imaging.
Shown above is the view from inside the optical bench of the current configuration of our balloon payload consisting of 8 co-aligned mirror modules, each module containing 12 mirror shells, for a total effective area of nearly 100 cm2 at 40 keV and better than 15 arcsec half-power diameter angular resolution. (The physical diameter of the optical bench is almost 1.5 m.) More information about the HERO balloon program is available as is this SPIE paper (PDF format) summarizing the HERO program and this ApJ Letter on the first astronomical images from HERO circa May 2001.
Editor: Dr. Douglas Swartz
System Administrator: Mr. Bob Dean
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