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The Copernicus Satellite (OAO-3)

photo of Copernicus Satellite in the clean room

Copernicus, or Orbiting Astronomical Observatory 3 (OAO-3) was a collaborative effort between the USA (NASA) and the UK (SERC). The main experiment on board was the Princeton University UV telescope, but it also carried an X-ray astronomy experiment developed by the University College London/Mullard Space Science Laboratory.

Mission Characteristics

* Lifetime: 21 August 1972 - February 1981
* Energy Range: 0.5 - 10 keV (X-ray experiment only)
* Payload:
The University College London X-ray Experiment (UCLXE) consisted of 4 co-aligned X-ray detectors
  • 3 Wolter type 0 grazing incidence telescopes with 2 proportional counters (3-9 Å and 6-18 Å) and a channel photomultiplier at the foci. (variable FOV from 1 to 12 arcmin)
  • 1 proportional counter (1-3 Å) with a simple collimation tube. (2.5° X 3.5° FOV)
* Science Highlights:
  • Discovery of several log period pulsars (e.g. X Per).
  • Discovery of absorption dips in Cyg X-1.
  • Long-term monitoring of pulsars and other bright X-ray binaries.
  • Observed rapid intensity variability from Cen A.
* Archive: Raw data from the UCLXE.
[About Copernicus] (http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/copernicus/copernicus_about.html) [Archive] (http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/copernicus/archive/copernicus_archive.html) [Software] (http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/copernicus/archive/copernicus_software.html) [Gallery] (http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/copernicus/copernicus_images.html) [Publications] (http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/copernicus/bib/copernicus_biblio.html)

Imagine the Universe is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

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All material on this site has been created and updated between 1997-2012.

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