Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 17:24 EDT

Latest Chandra X-ray Observatory Stories

2008-10-08 08:50:00

RCW 108 is a region where stars are actively forming within the Milky Way galaxy about 4,000 light years from Earth. This is a complicated region that contains young star clusters, including one that is deeply embedded in a cloud of molecular hydrogen. By using data from different telescopes, astronomers determined that star birth in this region is being triggered by the effect of nearby, massive young stars. This image is a composite of X-ray data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue)...

2008-09-25 08:10:00

Powerful nearby supernova caught by web of telescopes Over a decade after it exploded, one of the nearest supernovae in the last 25 years has been The supernova, called SN 1996cr, was first singled out in 2001 by Franz Bauer. Bauer noticed a bright, variable source in the Circinus spiral galaxy, using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. Although the source displayed some exceptional properties Bauer and his Penn State colleagues could not identify its nature confidently at the time. It was...

2008-09-12 08:53:20

Abell 1689, shown in this composite image, is a massive cluster of galaxies located about 2.3 billion light years away that shows signs of merging activity. Hundred-million-degree gas detected by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory is shown as purple in this image, while galaxies from optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope are colored yellow. The X-ray emission has a smooth appearance, unlike other merging systems such as the Bullet Cluster or MACS J0025.4-1222. The temperature pattern...

2008-08-29 07:10:00

Researchers say a strong particle accelerator has been located in the Crab Nebula, a magnetic field surrounding the stellar corpse at the nebula's center. The discovery was found with a tricky measurement that showed polarized high-energy radiation near the star.  It's electrical field aligned neatly with the star's axis. The Crab Nebula is the remaining bits of a supernova that occurred in 1054 CE.  The subsequent pulsar left behind is a dense corpse. The pulsar emits particles...

2008-08-27 11:30:00

A powerful collision of galaxy clusters has been captured by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory. This clash of clusters provides striking evidence for dark matter and insight into its properties.The observations of the cluster known as MACS J0025.4-1222 indicate that a titanic collision has separated the dark from ordinary matter and provide an independent confirmation of a similar effect detected previously in a target dubbed the Bullet Cluster. These new results...

2008-07-16 15:20:00

How do you weigh the biggest black holes in the universe? One answer now comes from a completely new and independent technique that astronomers have developed using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. By measuring a peak in the temperature of hot gas in the center of the giant elliptical galaxy NGC 4649, scientists have determined the mass of the galaxy's supermassive black hole. The method, applied for the first time, gives results that are consistent with a traditional technique....

2008-06-18 21:15:00

The biggest black holes may feed just like the smallest ones, according to data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and ground-based telescopes. This discovery supports the implication of Einstein's relativity theory that black holes of all sizes have similar properties, and will be useful for predicting the properties of a conjectured new class of black holes. The conclusion comes from a large observing campaign of the spiral galaxy M81, which is about 12 million light years from Earth. In...

2008-05-29 14:35:00

Astronomers have unearthed secrets from the grave of a star that blasted apart in a supernova explosion long ago. By decoding ghostly echoes of light traveling away from the remains of a supernova called Cassiopeia A, the scientists have pieced together what the star looked like in life, and ultimately how it met its demise. The discovery, made using primarily NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and Japan's Subaru telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii, represents the first time astronomers have been...

2008-05-21 12:50:00

Thanks to a fortunate observation with NASA's Swift satellite, astronomers, for the first time, have caught a normal supernova at the moment of its birth--the first instant when an exploding star begins spewing its energy into space, transforming into a supernova that during its brief lifetime will shine brighter than billions of stars combined. Until this discovery, the only supernovae glimpsed during their first moments were the more rare kind--the ones whose birth cries are drowned out by...

2008-05-14 08:55:00

The most recent supernova in our Galaxy has been discovered by tracking the rapid expansion of its remains. This result, using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and NRAO's Very Large Array (VLA), has implications for understanding how often supernovas explode in the Milky Way galaxy. The supernova explosion occurred about 140 years ago, making it the most recent supernova in the Milky Way as measured in Earth's time frame. Previously, the last known galactic supernova occurred around 1680,...

Latest Chandra X-ray Observatory Reference Libraries

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...

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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