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.