20 Years of Chandra


First Light: Celebrating 20 Years of Chandra Observatory

Credit: Steer Films & NASA/CXC/SAO (NASA's MSFC manages the Chandra program. SAO's CXC controls science operations from Cambridge, Mass., and flight operations from Burlington, Mass.)


Chandra by the Numbers

0.002 seconds

for a neutron star (47 Tuc W) observed with Chandra to spin around once

2.3 days

before Chandra started observing a neutron star merger and gravitational wave source after it was discovered


number of remnants observed with Chandra of thermonuclear supernova explosions seen with the unaided eye

300 million

Sun masses are swallowed by a black hole to create enormous cavities in hot gas in a galaxy cluster

100 factor of energy

that particles obtain over the Large Hadron Collider after being accelerated in a supernova remnant

32 million miles

expansion speed per hour of blast wave in supernova remnant G1.9+0.3

20,000 light years

distance between the black hole in the “Death Star” galaxy and the target galaxy it is striking



1 quintillion

how many times stronger the magnetic field of a magnetar is than the magnetic field of Earth

4 inches

height of atmosphere of the neutron star in Cassiopeia A


number of electrons per cubic centimeter in hot gas in a galaxy cluster


fraction of the speed of light that particles reach in a jet formed by a neutron star

110 years

age of the youngest supernova remnant, timed from Earth, in the Milky Way galaxy

1 billion tons

weight of a sugar cube-sized piece of neutron star

1 million

number of Earth masses worth of oxygen ejected into space in the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant

20 years

(so far) in operation



23 trillion

bytes of data collected

14 meters

in length —about the size of a school bus


number of octaves below middle C of a note produced by a supermassive black hole observed by Chandra.

10 years

for a supermassive black hole took to dine on the remains of a star it tore apart

3 quintillion

quantity of Sun masses in the El Gordo galaxy cluster

3.6 million

lines of code written to operate, collect and analyze data

2.4 billion

kilometers traveled

63.5 hours

to take one trip around Earth


trips around Earth



with us.

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