Thanksgiving Prep: Preheat at 90 for 15 minutes

Nov
24

John Scott is a mission planner for Chandra’s Flight Operation Team, and from time to time provides an inside look for the outside world on just how people take care of this remarkable spacecraft. This entry has a bit of a mystery in the second half of the title. If you have a guess to what it means to "Preheat at 90 for 15 minutes," then post it to the comment section. (Note to the rest of the Flight Ops Team: you're not eligible!) If someone comes up with the right answer – or close to it – we’ll send you a Chandra poster.

As most of the nation will spend the Thanksgiving holiday devouring a stuffed turkey in the warmth of their dining room, the Chandra X-ray Observatory will give thanks for the three batteries that will keep it powered during the first day of its 22nd eclipse season. With only three and a half weeks of eclipses (eight eclipses total), this season will be brief when compared to the upcoming eclipse seasons in the following few years.

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Chandra Hosts a Carnival Of Space

Nov
23

This week, the United States marks the Thanksgiving holiday. For most of us, this means lots of time with family (sometimes too much), friends, and vast amounts of food. It also causes all productivity to cease anywhere close to Thursday and the days that follow. That said, however, science and space never sleep – not even from an overdose of tryptophan.

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Q&A of the Day

Nov
19

We've decided to introduce a new, intermittent series to the Chandra blog. From time to time, we'll dig into our vast archive of questions submitted by the public and post the answers written by experts at the Chandra X-ray Center. Some of these will be Chandra-specific or at least X-ray astronomy related. Others, well, they'll be somewhat random. Enjoy.

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NASA's Great Observatories Examine the Galactic Center Region

Nov
10

Galactic Center

In celebration of the International Year of Astronomy 2009, NASA's Great Observatories -- the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory -- have collaborated to produce an unprecedented image of the central region of our Milky Way galaxy.

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Meet an Astronomer: Leisa Townsley

Nov
05

Leisa Townsley has long been a favorite of the Chandra team. Not only does she do really interesting science, she creates some truly spectacular images that we get to share with the public. Leisa is a Senior Scientist at Penn State University. Keep your eyes open for some more gorgeous Chandra images from Leisa and her colleagues, as well as new science results, in the not-so-distant future.

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Carbon Atmosphere Discovered On Neutron Star

Nov
04

Cassiopeia A

This Chandra X-ray Observatory image shows the central region of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A (Cas A, for short) the remains of a massive star that exploded in our galaxy. Evidence for a thin carbon atmosphere on a neutron star at the center of Cas A has been found. Besides resolving a ten-year-old mystery about the nature of this object, this result provides a vivid demonstration of the extreme nature of neutron stars. An artist's impression of the carbon-cloaked neutron star is also shown.

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Chandra Source Catalog: Onto the Google Sky (Part 2)

Oct
29

Continuation from Part 1

As the Chandra Source Catalog was being finalized for release (documents updated, final verifications being performed, etc.) we had some time to try a little experiment:

As part of the Catalog, we produce so-called "3-color" JPEG images: red representing low energy, green = medium energy, and blue = high energy. We thought it would be interesting to learn enough of the Keyhole Markup Language (kml) to enable these images to be viewed with Google Earth in its Sky mode.

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Galaxy Cluster Smashes Distance Record

Oct
22

JKCS041

This is a composite image of the most distant galaxy cluster yet detected. This image contains X-rays from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, optical data from the Very Large Telescope (VLT) and optical and infrared data from the Digitized Sky Survey. This record-breaking object, known as JKCS041, is observed as it was when the Universe was just one quarter of its current age. X-rays from Chandra are displayed here as the diffuse blue region, while the individual galaxies in the cluster are seen in white in the VLT's optical data, embedded in the X-ray emission.

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Chandra Source Catalog: Onto the Google Sky (Part 1)

Oct
21

From time to time in the Chandra blog, we like to give a look at the behind the scenes of how things really work around here. As you may suspect, it takes a lot of effort from many, many people to make this mission a success. One area we haven't delved into too much yet is the "data analysis" and other herculean efforts that are required to make the Chandra data as useful and user-friendly as possible to the scientific community.

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