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Latest Chandra X-ray Observatory Stories

Image 2 - Slowpoke Pulsar Found Nestled In Young Supernova Remnant
2011-12-20 15:09:57

Astronomers have discovered a very slowly rotating X-ray pulsar still embedded in the remnant of the supernova that created it. This unusual object was detected on the outskirts of the Small Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, using data from a number of telescopes, including ESA's XMM-Newton. A puzzling mismatch between the fairly young age of the supernova remnant and the slow rotation of the pulsar, which would normally indicate a much older object, raises interesting...

Galaxy Cluster Gets Sloshed Around Like Wine
2011-12-14 04:39:49

Like wine in a glass, vast clouds of hot gas are sloshing back and forth in Abell 2052, a galaxy cluster located about 480 million light years from Earth. X-ray data (blue) from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory shows the hot gas in this dynamic system, and optical data (gold) from the Very Large Telescope shows the galaxies. The hot, X-ray bright gas has an average temperature of about 30 million degrees. A huge spiral structure in the hot gas -- spanning almost a million light years -- is...

Swift Finds Gamma-Ray Burst With A Dual Personality
2011-12-01 04:28:51

[ Watch the Video ] A peculiar cosmic explosion first detected by NASA's Swift observatory on Christmas Day 2010 was caused either by a novel type of supernova located billions of light-years away or an unusual collision much closer to home, within our own galaxy. Papers describing both interpretations appear in the Dec. 1 issue of the journal Nature. Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are the universe's most luminous explosions, emitting more energy in a few seconds than our sun will during its...

Black Hole Birth Announcement
2011-11-17 14:40:32

For the first time, astronomers have produced a complete description of a black hole, a concentration of mass so dense that not even light can escape its powerful gravitational pull. Their precise measurements have allowed them to reconstruct the history of the object from its birth some six million years ago. Using several telescopes, both ground-based and in orbit, the scientists unraveled longstanding mysteries about the object called Cygnus X-1, a famous binary-star system discovered...

Image Release: Close Encounters Of The Galactic Kind
2011-10-26 02:54:11

Astronomers have used a large survey to test a prediction that close encounters between galaxies can trigger the rapid growth of supermassive black holes. Key to this work was Chandra's unique ability to pinpoint actively growing black holes through the X-rays they generate. The researchers looked at 562 pairs of galaxies ranging in distances from about 3 billion to 8 billion light years from Earth. They found that the galaxies in the early stages of an encounter with another were more...

Image 1 - New Black Hole Anatomy Revealed
2011-09-29 07:15:57

A fleet of spacecraft including ESA's XMM-Newton and Integral have shown unprecedented details close to a supermassive black hole. They reveal huge 'bullets' of gas being driven away from the 'gravitational monster'. The black hole that the team chose to study lies at the heart of the galaxy Markarian 509, 500 million light years away in space. This black hole is colossal, containing 300 million times the mass of the Sun and growing more massive every day as it continues to feed....

Distant Planet Blasted With X-rays From Nearby Star
2011-09-14 05:56:33

  A nearby star is pummeling a companion planet with a barrage of X-rays 100,000 times more intense than the Earth receives from the sun. New data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope suggest that high-energy radiation is evaporating about 5 million tons of matter from the planet every second. This result gives insight into the difficult survival path for some planets. The planet, known as CoRoT-2b, has a mass about...

Chandra Discovers Nearest Pair Of Supermassive Black Holes
2011-09-01 06:13:01

  Astronomers using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory discovered the first pair of supermassive black holes in a spiral galaxy similar to the Milky Way. Approximately 160 million light years from Earth, the pair is the nearest known such phenomenon. The black holes are located near the center of the spiral galaxy NGC 3393. Separated by only 490 light years, the black holes are likely the remnant of a merger of two galaxies of unequal mass a billion or more years ago. "If this...


Latest Chandra X-ray Observatory Reference Libraries

7_d6897d09acee1dd0c34d0fbf62ff7d0b2
2004-10-19 04:45:44

X-Ray Astronomy -- Although the more energetic X-rays (E > 30 keV) can penetrate the air at least for distances of a few meters (they would never have been detected and medical X-ray machines would not work if this was not the case) the Earth's atmosphere is thick enough that virtually none are able to penetrate from outer space all the way to the Earth's surface. X-rays in the 0.5 - 5 keV range, where most celestial sources give off the bulk of their energy, can be stopped by a few...

2_a81834bec3c2c5679a2f649dd032460c2
2004-10-19 04:45:40

Chandra X-ray Observatory -- NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, which was launched and deployed by Space Shuttle Columbia on July 23, 1999, is the most sophisticated X-ray observatory built to date. Chandra is designed to observe X-rays from high-energy regions of the universe, such as the remnants of exploded stars. The Observatory has three major parts: (1) the X-ray telescope, whose mirrors focus X-rays from celestial objects; (2) the science instruments which record the X-rays so...

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Word of the Day
Cthulhu
  • A gigantic fictional humanoid alien god being described with a head resembling an octopus and dragon wings and claws, around whom an insane cult developed.
  • Pertaining to the mythos of Cthulhu and additional otherworldly beings created by H. P. Lovecraft or inspired by his writings and imitators.
This word was invented in 1926 by H.P. Lovecraft for his short story, 'The Call of Cthulhu.' 'Cthulhu' may be based on the word 'chthonic,' which in Greek mythology refers to the underworld.
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