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Q&A: Chandra Mission

Q:
Does Chandra have a resolution? What is resolution if it has it?

A:
In astronomy, "resolution" or "resolving power" refers to the ability of a telescope to distinguish details. "Angular resolution" refers to the ability to distinguish details in an image. For example, Chandra can distinguish details that are only half an arc second apart. If your eyes had similar resolving power, you could read the letters on a stop sign at a distance of 12 miles!. "Energy resolution" refers to the ability to distinguish the energies or wavelengths of photons. In visible light, this amounts to the ability to distinguish different colors. When Chandra makes an observation with the transmission gratings in place, it can distinguish thousands of different X-ray energies or colors.

Find out more about Chandra's specifications


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