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Recent Podcast
Tour of NGC 2207
Tour of NGC 2207
When galaxies get together, there is also the chance of a spectacular light show. (2014-12-16)
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Animations & Video: Featured Image Tours
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1. Tour of Galactic Center
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only This image from the Chandra X-ray Observatory reveals a wealth of exotic objects and high-energy features at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. In this new and deep image from Chandra, red represents lower-energy X-rays, green shows the medium range, and blue indicates the higher-energy X-rays Chandra can detect. The hundreds of small dots show emission from material around black holes and other dense stellar objects like neutron stars. A supermassive black hole -- some four million times more massive than the Sun -- resides within the bright region to the right of center. The diffuse X-ray light comes from gas heated to millions of degrees by outflows from the supermassive black hole, winds from giant stars, and stellar explosions.
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(Credit: NASA/CXC/UMass/D. Wang et al.)

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Click for high-resolution animation
2. Tour of Galactic Ridge
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only This sequence begins with an infrared view from the Spitzer Space Telescope of the central region of the Milky Way. We then zoom into a region about 1.4 degrees away from the center of the galaxy where the Chandra X-ray Observatory focused its attention for about twelve days' worth of time. This region is known as the Galactic Ridge, because earlier X-ray observatories found a structure of diffuse emission stretching across the plane of the galaxy. The new long Chandra observation shows that this X-ray haze is actually composed of thousands of individual sources, like stars and binary systems.
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(X-ray (NASA/CXC/TUM/M.Revnivtsev et al.); IR (NASA/JPL-Caltech/GLIMPSE Team))

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Click for high-resolution animation
3. Tour of GRS 1915
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only We start with an optical and infrared image that shows the crowded area around the object known as GRS 1915+105, or GRS 1915 for short. Next is a close-up of the Chandra image of GRS 1915, which is located near the plane of the Milky Way. GRS 1915 is a so-called micro-quasar that contains a black hole about fourteen times the mass of the sun, which in turn is pulling material off a nearby companion star. With its high-energy transmission grating, Chandra has observed GRS 1915 eleven times since 1999. These studies reveal that a jet from the black hole in GRS 1915 may be periodically choked off when a hot wind is driven off the disk surrounding the black hole. Conversely, once the wind dies down, the jet can re-emerge. These results suggest that this type of black hole may have a mechanism for regulating the rate at which it grows.
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(X-ray (NASA/CXC/Harvard/J.Neilsen); Optical & IR (Palomar DSS2))

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
4. Tour of Hydra A
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only This composite image of the Hydra A galaxy cluster shows 10-million-degree gas observed by Chandra and jets of radio emission observed by the Very Large Array. The galaxies in the cluster are seen in optical light by two ground-based telescopes. At the center of Hydra A is a supermassive black hole that has experienced powerful outbursts. These outbursts pushed the material surrounding the black hole, creating giant cavities seen in the Chandra data. These cavities were then filled with material from jets seen in the radio data. The Chandra data reveal that the gas located along the direction of the radio jets is enhanced with iron and other metals. Scientists think that these elements, vital for stars, planets, and ultimately life, were forged in supernova explosions in the large galaxy at the center of the cluster.
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(X-ray: NASA/CXC/U.Waterloo/C.Kirkpatrick et al.; Radio: NSF/NRAO/VLA; Optical: Canada-France-Hawaii-Telescope/DSS)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
5. Tour of JKCS041
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only The most distant galaxy cluster yet has been found some 10.2 billion light-years from Earth. This record-breaking object is known as JKCS041, and is seen as it was when the Universe was just one quarter of its present age. This composite image of the object contains x-rays from the Chandra X-ray Observatory, shown as the blue, diffuse cloud, as well as optical and infrared data from ground-based telescopes. Galaxy clusters are the largest objects in the universe held together by gravity. Scientists have calculated how quickly these clusters could start assembling after the Big Bang. And JKCS041 lies just inside that window. Future observations will provide scientists with an opportunity to learn about how the Universe evolved at this crucial stage.
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(X-ray: NASA/CXC/INAF/S.Andreon et al Optical: DSS; ESO/VLT)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
6. Tour of M101
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only This image of the spiral galaxy Messier 101 is a composite of observations from NASA's three Great Observatories: the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope, and the Spitzer Space Telescope. Chandra's view in X-ray light is seen as blue and reveals multi-million-degree gas, exploded stars, and material colliding around black holes. In red, Spitzer's view in infrared light highlights the heat emitted by dust lanes in the galaxy where stars can form. The yellow shows Hubble's data in visible light. Most of this light also comes from stars, and they trace the same spiral structure as the dust lanes. Such multi-wavelength images allow astronomers to see how features in one wavelength match up with those in another, and give everyone a more complete picture of this beautiful galaxy.
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(Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/JHU/K.Kuntz et al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI/JHU/K. Kuntz et al; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech/STScI/K. Gordon)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
7. Tour of MacsJ0717
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only This image contains one of the most complex galaxy clusters known, which is located about 5.4 billion light years from Earth. In this system known as MacsJ0717 for short, 4 separate galaxy clusters have collided. This is the first time such a complex crash of galaxy clusters has been documented. In this composite image, data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory reveal the cluster's hot gas, while an optical image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows the individual galaxies in the system. The gas in this image is color-coded to show temperature, just like a weather map for Earth. In this case however, the temperatures range from millions to tens of millions of degrees, where the coolest gas here is colored red, the hottest gas is blue, and the temperatures in between are purple.
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(X-ray (NASA/CXC/IfA/C. Ma et al.); Optical (NASA/STScI/IfA/C. Ma et al.))

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Click for high-resolution animation
8. Tour of Medusa
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only NGC 4194 is a galaxy that is found about 110 million light years from Earth. This image of NGC 4194, also known as the Medusa galaxy, is a composite of X-rays from Chandra, seen in blue, and optical light data from Hubble, which are colored orange. Located above the center of the galaxy, the "hair" of Medusa is a tidal tail formed by a collision between galaxies. The bright X-ray source found on the left side of Medusa's hair is a black hole. A recent study of the Medusa galaxy and nine other galaxies measured the connection between the formation of stars and the production of so-called X-ray binaries. These systems, which contain either a black hole or a neutron star in orbit around a normal star, appear as the bright blue point-like sources in this image of Medusa.
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(X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ of Iowa/P.Kaaret et al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI/Univ of Iowa/P.Kaaret et al.)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
9. Tour of Multiwavelength Galactic Center
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only This never-before-seen view of the turbulent heart of our Milky Way combines a near-infrared view from Hubble, an infrared image from Spitzer, and X-ray data from Chandra. The composite image features the spectacle of galactic evolution: from vibrant regions of star birth to young and old stellar populations and even to the eerie remains of stellar death called black holes. All of this occurs against a fiery backdrop in the crowded, hostile environment of the galaxy's core, the center of which is ruled by a supermassive black hole. A diffuse haze of X-ray light from hot gas permeates the entire field. This gas has been heated to millions of degrees by outflows from the supermassive black hole as well as by winds from massive stars and stellar explosions.
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(X-ray: NASA/CXC/UMass/D. Wang et al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI/D.Wang et al.; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSC/S.Stolovy)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
10. Tour of NGC 604
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only NGC 604 is a divided neighborhood in the galaxy M33, where some 200 hot, young massive stars reside. In this composite image, X-ray data from Chandra are blue, while optical light data from Hubble are seen as red, green and yellow. Bubbles in the cooler gas and dust seen by Hubble have been generated by powerful stellar winds, which are then filled with hot, X-ray-emitting gas. Scientists find the amount of hot gas detected in the bubbles on the right side corresponds to the amount entirely powered by the winds from the 200 massive stars. The situation is different on the left side, where the amount of X-ray gas cannot explain the brightness of the X-ray emission. The bubbles on the left side appear to be much older and were likely created and powered by young stars and supernovas in the past.
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(NASA/CXC/CfA/R. Tuellmann et al.; Optical: NASA/AURA/STScI)

Related Chandra Images: