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Recent Podcast
A Tour of The Big, Bad & Beautiful Universe with Chandra
A Tour of The Big, Bad & Beautiful Universe with Chandra
To celebrate the 15th anniversary of NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, we have released four new images of supernova remnants. These show Chandra's ability to study the remains of supernova explosions, using images that are the sharpest available in X-ray astronomy. The images of the Tycho and G292.0+1.8 supernova remnants show how Chandra can trace the expanding debris of an exploded star. The images show shock waves, similar to sonic booms from a supersonic plane, that travel through space at speeds of millions of miles per hour. The images of the Crab Nebula and 3C58 show the effects of very dense, rapidly spinning neutron stars created when a massive star explodes. These neutron stars can create clouds of high-energy particles that glow brightly in X-rays. The image for G292 shows oxygen (yellow and orange), and other elements such as magnesium (green) and silicon and sulfur (blue) that were forged in the star before it exploded. For the other images, the lower energy X-rays are shown in red and green and the highest energy X-rays are shown in blue. (2014-07-22)


Chandra's Extraordinary Universe

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Since 1999, the Chandra X-ray Observatory has transformed our view of the high-energy universe with its ability to make exquisite X-ray images of star clusters, supernova remnants, galactic eruptions, and collisions between clusters of galaxies. Chandra has probed the geometry of space-time around black holes, traced the dispersal of calcium and other elements by supernovas, and revealed that whirling neutron stars only twelve miles in diameter can generate streams of high-energy particles that extend for light years. Chandra has found cosmic generators millions of times more powerful than neutron stars - rapidly spinning, supergiant black holes in the centers of galaxies. There, energy from the rotation of the black hole and surrounding gas is converted into powerful jets and winds that can influence the destiny of an entire galaxy. On an even greater scale, Chandra has helped to confirm that galaxies and the universe are dominated by other forms of darkness, called dark matter and dark energy. In the distant past, dark matter pulled material together to form galaxies and galaxy clusters, but now, it appears that dark energy, which may be a much different phenomenon, has stopped the process and is causing the universe to expand at an ever-increasing rate. The nature of dark matter and dark energy is still a deep mystery. As Chandra expands the realm of the known, it continues to raise new questions and point the way for future exploration.

Credit: NASA/CXC

Image and motion graphic credits: NASA/CXC/A.Hobart; NASA/STScI & G.Bacon; NASA/JPL-Caltech & R.Hurt; ESA/Hubble, IAU & ESO (M. Kornmesser); NASA; NASA/WMAP; NASA/GSFC SVS/D.Berry


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