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Recent Podcast
A Tour of Perseus and Virgo Clusters
A Tour of Perseus and Virgo Clusters
Now researchers have direct evidence for just how that energy keeps the gas in the entire galaxy cluster so hot. (2014-10-31)
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Animations & Video: Featured Image Tours
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1. Tour of Cassiopeia A
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only Cassiopeia A is the 300-year-old remnant created by the supernova explosion of a massive star. Each Great Observatory image highlights different characteristics of the remnant. Hubble sees the delicate filamentary structure of gases at temperatures about 10,000 degrees Celsius. In the infrared, Spitzer reveals warm dust in the outer shell. Chandra shows much hotter gases glowing in X-rays at about 10 million degrees. This hot gas was created when ejected material from the supernova smashed into surrounding gas and dust at millions of miles per hour. When combined, the data from these telescopes produce a stunning image of this famous object.
[Runtime: 0:42]
(X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: NASA/STScI; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
2. Tour of M51
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only Hubble's image of M51, also known as the Whirlpool Galaxy, shows the majestic spiral arms that are actually long lanes of stars and gas laced with dust. The infrared image from Spitzer also reveals stars and the glow from clouds of interstellar dust. The dust consists mainly of a variety of carbon-based organic molecules. An image from the GALEX mission gives the view of M51 in ultraviolet light. Chandra detects a large number of point-like X-ray sources due to black holes and neutron stars in binary star systems. When combined, all of these observatories paint a more complete picture of the famous galaxy.
[Runtime: 0:49]
(X-ray (NASA/CXC/Wesleyan Univ./R. Kilgard); UV (NASA/JPL-Caltech); Optical (NASA/ESA/S. Beckwith & The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)); IR (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona/R. Kennicutt))

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
3. Tour of M82
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only When seen in visible light from the Hubble Space Telescope, M82 looks like an ordinary spiral galaxy. However, looking at it through the Spitzer Space Telescope in infrared radiation, we see a startlingly different picture with material being blasted from the galaxy's disk. X-ray data from Chandra reveal scorching gas that has been heated to millions of degrees by this violent outburst. The composite image of all of these different data reveals the true nature of this galaxy.
[Runtime: 0:35]
(X-ray: NASA/CXC/JHU/D.Strickland; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI/AURA/The Hubble Heritage Team; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of AZ/C. Engelbracht)

Related Chandra Images:
  • Photo Album: M82

Click for high-resolution animation
4. Tour of Sombrero
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only We begin with the Hubble Space Telescope's optical light view of the Sombrero galaxy, also known as M104. Sombrerois one of the largest galaxies in the nearby Virgo cluster, about 28 million light years from Earth. Some of the prominent features of the Sombrero, which are highlighted in Hubble's image, include its large bulge of stars in the center and the thick band of dust that appears as the dark lane across the galaxy's mid-section. Like the Milky Way, Sombrero is a spiral galaxy. However, we see Sombrero edge-on from our vantage point from Earth, rather than the face-down perspective that is more familiar. A Great Observatories view of the same Sombrero reveals different aspects of the galaxy. The X-ray image from the Chandra X-ray Observatory shows hot gas in the galaxy that appears as a diffuse glow that extends over 60,000 light years from the Sombrero's center. Also, Chandra detects many point-like sources of X-ray emission that are mostly stars within Sombrero but some are quasars in the distant background. The rim of dust that blocks the starlight in the Hubble image glows brightly in the Spitzer Space Telescope's infrared image. Also, the central bulge of stars strongly emits infrared emission detected by Spitzer.
[Runtime: 1:22]
(Credit: X-ray: NASA/UMass/Q.D.Wang et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI/AURA/Hubble Heritage; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. AZ/R.Kennicutt/SINGS Team)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
5. Tour of Crab Nebula
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only In 1054 A.D., a star's death in the constellation Taurus was observed on Earth. Now, almost a thousand years later, a superdense neutron star left behind by the explosion is spewing out a blizzard of extremely high-energy particles into the expanding debris field known as the Crab Nebula. This image combines data from Hubble, Spitzer and Chandra telescopes. The size of the X-ray image is smaller than the others because ultrahigh-energy X-ray emitting electrons radiate away their energy more quickly than the lower-energy electrons emitting optical and infrared light. By studying the Crab Nebula, astronomers hope to unlock the secrets of how similar objects across the universe are powered.
[Runtime: 0:43]
(X-ray: NASA/CXC/ASU/J.Hester et al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/ASU/J.Hester & A.Loll; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. Minn./R.Gehrz)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
6. Tour of 4C+29.30
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only Astronomers think that just about every galaxy contains a giant, or supermassive, black hole at their center. Sometimes the intense gravity of these black holes can be tapped to produce intense power. That's what is happening in the galaxy known as 4C+29.30, which is found some 850 million light years from Earth. By looking at this galaxy with different telescopes, astronomers can get a more complete picture. Radio data show two jets of particles that are speeding at millions of miles per hour away from the supermassive black hole. X-rays from Chandra trace the location of hot gas in the galaxy. The bright X-rays in the center of the image mark a pool of million-degree gas around the black hole. Some of this material may eventually be consumed by the black hole, and the magnetized, whirlpool of gas near the black hole could, in turn, trigger more output to the radio jet. Most of the low-energy X-rays around the black hole are absorbed by dust and gas, which is probably in the shape of a giant doughnut around the black hole. This doughnut, or torus, blocks all the optical light produced near the black hole, so astronomers refer to this type of source as a hidden or buried black hole.
[Runtime: 01:36]
(NASA/CXC/J. DePasquale)

Related Chandra Images: