Einstein Observatory

The Einstein Observatory (High Energy Astronomical Observatory 2, HEAO-2; known as HEAO-B prior to launch) was a pioneering space astronomy mission which flew from 1978 to 1981. It was the first imaging X-ray telescope in orbit to be used for extrasolar astronomy, following the success of the Skylab solar X-ray telescope. Together with IUE, it was one of the first NASA missions with a guest observer program, helping create today's broad community of space scientists. The HEAO-B X-ray telescope was designed by SAO's Leon van Speybroeck, and the mission was conceived by Riccardo Giacconi and operated by the former American Science and Engineering group at CfA in collaboration with the managing NASA center, Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

We hope to put historical materials from the HEAO-2/Einstein mission in this area. To start off with, we have digitized the Einstein Slide Collection, used for talks and presentations by Einstein staff during and after the mission. Early results, with some exceptions, are in the first slides. Most captions accurately describe content of the slide. Some do not. We have corrected obvious problems but a few captions remain mysterious. You are welcome to browse or extract and use any of these images. Be aware that large color images (made by photographing a monitor display) are sometimes distorted. Also, the digitization was a batch job and the focus and/or exposure was sometimes not optimum. Many of the black and white slides were dirty or damaged. Most of the original slides are available from the SAO High Energy Division and for presentation or publication some could be greatly improved by cleaning and redigitization.

A set was made for the Smithsonian institution and is included here as E672-E730. These make a nice presentation of Einstein results for several classes of objects and are all very good reproductions. As an extension of this, later results can be found in slides E860, E887-E894, E899-E905, E919, and E1081. First Light for the Observatory is in E778.

Acknowledgements: Digital materials were prepared by Alaalden Ibrahim and Jonathan McDowell. Fred Seward has checked the collection and would be pleased to discuss any problems found in the slide labels.