Thermal imaging is an important, though challenging, diagnostic for shockwave experiments. Shock-compressed materials undergo transient temperature changes that cannot be recorded with standard (greater than ms response time) infrared detectors. A further complication arises when optical elements near the experiment are destroyed. We have designed a thermal-imaging system for studying shock temperatures produced inside a gas gun at Sandia National Laboratories. Inexpensive, diamond-turned, parabolic mirrors relay an image of the shocked target to the exterior of the gas gun chamber through a sapphire vacuum port. The 3000-5000-nm portion of this image is directed to an infrared camera which acquires a snapshot of the target with a minimum exposure time of 150 ns. A special mask is inserted at the last intermediate image plane, to provide dynamic thermal background recording during the event. Other wavelength bands of this image are split into high-speed detectors operating at 900-1700 nm and at 1700-3000 nm, for time-resolved pyrometry measurements. This system incorporates 90-degree, off-axis parabolic mirrors, which can collect low f/# light over a broad spectral range, for high-speed imaging. Matched mirror pairs must be used so that aberrations cancel. To eliminate image plane tilt, proper tip-to-tip orientation of the parabolic mirrors is required. If one parabolic mirror is rotated 180 degrees about the optical axis connecting the pair of parabolic mirrors, the resulting image is tilted by 60 degrees. Different focal-length mirrors cannot be used to magnify the image without substantially sacrificing image quality. This paper analyzes performance and aberrations of this imaging diagnostic.© (2006) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.