General

Light: Going Beyond the Bulb

Jan
29

2015 has been declared the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (#IYL2015) by the United Nations. Working for NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, a space-based telescope that observes X-rays from the Universe, we talk about light all the time. X-rays are a kind of light. There are many different kinds of light that make up the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to gamma rays, but only one that human eyes can detect naturally (known as optical, or visible, light).


Caption: This illustration shows the full range of the electromagnetic spectrum, in order of increasing frequency or energy, from radio waves, to microwave, to infrared, to visible or optical, to ultraviolet, to X rays, to gamma rays.
Image file: http://lightexhibit.org/images/featured/about_light.jpg
Image Credit: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss

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Chandra Celebrates The International Year of Light

Jan
22

IYL*

The year of 2015 has been declared the International Year of Light (IYL) by the United Nations. Organizations, institutions, and individuals involved in the science and applications of light will be joining together for this yearlong celebration to help spread the word about the wonders of light.

In many ways, astronomy uses the science of light. By building telescopes that can detect light in its many forms, from radio waves on one end of the "electromagnetic spectrum" to gamma rays on the other, scientists can get a better understanding of the processes at work in the Universe.

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An "Hour of Code" with Color, Images, and Astronomy

Dec
09

For many, it might be hard to imagine living a life without computers and technology. In fact, it’s become so much a part of our society that we may not realize how dependent we are on technology.

But who does the work that enables these computers to fit into our daily lives? Who gets to learn how to code? A project called “Hour of Code” as well as Computer Science Education Week is seeking to address that question by increasing access to coding opportunities for elementary, middle and high school students, and particularly girls and underrepresented students of color.

Here at the Chandra X-ray Center we strongly believe in this goal as well. We’ve joined forces with other members of the astronomical community, including an astronomer at the American Astronomical Society, others at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, as well as partners at Google's CS First and Pencil Code, to create a project for the “Hour of Code” that combines color, astronomy, and coding: http://event.pencilcode.net/home/hoc2014/

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Thank You, STS-93

Dec
03

A couple of weeks ago, the "15 Years of Science with Chandra" symposium was held in Boston, Mass. It was foremost a chance to bring scientists together who are doing some of the most fascinating research with Chandra on everything from black holes to neutron stars to dark matter.

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Harvey's Voyage

Jul
21

Dr. Harvey Tananbaum at the Smithsonian's Castle Library in May 2006. (Credit: Jim Moran)

On April 20, 2014, Harvey Tananbaum stepped down after 23 years as director of the Chandra X-ray Center (CXC). This event was duly noted in various press releases, but its significance may not have been widely appreciated.

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Chandra "Enthusiastically Endorsed" for Extension in Senior Review

May
20

Peter Edmonds is the Chandra Press Scientist and, in addition to his work on publicizing Chandra science, has been heavily involved with the Chandra's Senior Review proposal since 2008.

In science, "peer review" is used to describe a process that determines whether a research paper should be published in a journal. One or more experts review the paper and determine its fate: are the results and discussion reliable and do they meet the publication standards of the journal?

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Christine Jones Wins Distinguished Smithsonian Honor

Feb
24

We are very proud to announce that the Chandra X-ray Center's Dr. Christine Jones is the recipient of the 2013 Secretary's Distinguished Research Lecture Award from the Smithsonian Institution.

The award recognizes a scholar's sustained achievement in research, long-standing investment in the Smithsonian, outstanding contribution to a field, and ability to communicate research to a non-specialist audience.

Christine has been part of the Chandra family since before "Chandra" even existed. She started her work in the field of X-ray astronomy as an undergraduate at Harvard. With the 1970 launch of Uhuru, the first satellite devoted exclusively to X-ray astronomy, Christine studied Cygnus X-1, a binary X-ray source in which a black hole orbits a normal star.

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Finding Patterns

Jan
17

Clouds

Image: Frank Kovalchek, Wikimedia Commons

One of our favorite games to play with our kids is trying to find recognizable objects in clouds as they pass by on a sunny day. One cloud might look like an elephant, the next, a pirate ship.

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