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Copernicus (OAO-3)

Copernicus (OAO-3)

Artist's conception of the Copernicus satellite

An artist's conception of the Copernicus (OAO-3) satellite in orbit. (Credit: NASA)

Lifetime: August 1972 - February 1981

Country (primary): United States and United Kingdom

Primary Science

The main instrument on the Copernicus satellite, or the Orbiting Astronomical Observatory 3, was an ultraviolet telescope for cosmic observations.

High Energy Science

In addition to its main ultraviolet telescope, Copernicus carried an X-ray telescope.

Science Highlights

  • Discovery of several long-period pulsars
  • Long-term monitoring of pulsars and other bright X-ray binaries
  • Observed rapid intensity variability in Centaurus A

Links to more information


A service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA/GSFC

NASA Logo, National Aeronautics and Space Administration