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Latest Chandra X-ray Observatory Stories

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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....

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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2008-04-15 09:50:00

Using NASA, Japanese, and European X-ray satellites, a team of Japanese astronomers has discovered that our galaxy's central black hole let loose a powerful flare three centuries ago.The finding helps resolve a long-standing mystery: why is the Milky Way's black hole so quiescent? The black hole, known as Sagittarius A* (pronounced "A-star"), is a certified monster, containing about 4 million times the mass of our Sun. Yet the energy radiated from its surroundings is billions of times weaker...

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2008-04-10 10:35:00

The image on the left from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory shows the first double-sided X-ray jet ever detected from a young star. A similar jet may have been launched from the young Sun and could have had a significant impact on the early solar system.The young star, named DG Tau, is located in the Taurus star-forming region, about 450 light years from Earth. The bright source of X-rays in the middle of the image is DG Tau and the jet runs from the top left to the bottom right, extending to...

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2008-03-20 13:27:59

Astronomers have made the best ever determination of the power of a supernova explosion that was visible from Earth long ago. By observing the remnant of a supernova and a light echo from the initial outburst, they have established the validity of a powerful new method for studying supernovas. Using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, ESA's XMM-Newton Observatory, and the Gemini Observatory, two teams of researchers studied the supernova remnant and its light echo, located in the...

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2008-02-21 13:10:00

NASA and McGill scientists find star which morphs from pulsar to magnetar Observations from NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) have revealed that the youngest known pulsing neutron star has thrown a temper tantrum. The collapsed star occasionally unleashes powerful bursts of X-rays, which are forcing astronomers to rethink the life cycle of neutron stars. "We are watching one type of neutron star literally change into another right before our very eyes. This is a long-sought missing...

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2008-02-13 13:20:00

Using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, scientists have reported the possible detection of a binary star system that was later destroyed in a supernova explosion. The new method they used provides great future promise for finding the detailed origin of these important cosmic events. In an article appearing in the February 14th issue of the journal Nature, Rasmus Voss of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany and Gijs Nelemans of Radboud University in the...


Latest Chandra X-ray Observatory Reference Libraries

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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
negawatt
  • A unit of saved energy.
Coined by Amory Lovins, chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute as a contraction of negative watt on the model of similar compounds like megawatt.