Chandra at Smithsonian Folklife Festival

For those of you who are still making 4th of July plans and might be in Washington, DC, for the holiday, here's something to consider. There will be a Chandra exhibit at this summer’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival from July 3-5. Why, you might ask? Well, one of the themes of this year’s festival is the "Unlocking the Mysteries of the Universe" -- and that's basically right up our alley. Throw in the fact that Chandra is operated and managed by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and it's practically a match made in heaven.

"Survivor" Black Holes May Be Mid-Sized

M82

This composite image of the nearby starburst galaxy M82 shows Chandra X-ray Observatory data in blue, optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope in green and orange, and infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope in red. The pullout is a Chandra image that shows the central region of the galaxy and contains two bright X-ray sources -- identified in a labeled version, roll your mouse over the image to view -- of special interest.

Shapes All Over The Place: Bubbles

Maybe it's the large number of the pre-school people that we spend time with these days, but we see shapes all over the place. Hoping to go beyond the snack-and-nap crowd, we like to look for similar shapes in very unexpected places.

Webby Award
A demonstration of visuals for bubbles (soap bubble, bubble nebula, galaxy cluster bubbles) across different scales.

Webby Award To Chandra Trailer

Since the dawn of the Internet, there have been countless things that have come and gone. To some of them, we can easily say good riddance (flashing rainbow icons? the used-to-death phrase of the "information superhighway"?)

Webby Award
In other words, not many vestiges of the Internet circa 1996 remain, but one important one does: the Webby awards. Presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, the Webbies are still one of the most prestigious digital awards around.

Einstein's Theory Fights off Challengers

Abell 3376

Two different teams have reported using Chandra observations of galaxy clusters to study the properties of gravity on cosmic scales and test Einstein's theory of General Relativity. Such studies are crucial for understanding the evolution of the universe, both in the past and the future, and for probing the nature of dark energy, one of the biggest mysteries in science.

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

G54.1+0.3

A new image from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and Spitzer Space Telescope shows the dusty remains of a collapsed star. The dust is flying past and engulfing a nearby family of stars. Scientists think the stars in the image are part of a stellar cluster in which the a supernova exploded. The material ejected in the explosion is now blowing past these stars at high velocities.

The Poetry of Discovery

Richard Dawkins, the Oxford zoologist and author, once said that "science is the poetry of reality", an observation that inspired a new video from the people who run the Symphony of Science project.

Another link can be made between science and poetry when scientific discoveries inspire people to write poems. Jonathan Taylor, a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at De Montfort University in the UK, wrote a poem about the deep note generated by a black hole in the Perseus galaxy cluster.

Jonathan is not only a poet, but a memoirist and novelist.

Perseus

Winds of Change: How Black Holes May Shape Galaxies

NGC 1068

This is a composite image of NGC 1068, one of the nearest and brightest galaxies containing a rapidly growing supermassive black hole. X-ray data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory are shown in red, optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope in green and radio data from the Very Large Array in blue. The spiral structure of NGC 1068 is shown by the X-ray and optical data, and a jet powered by the central supermassive black hole is shown by the radio data.

Q and A of the Day: How Have Telescopes Changed Things?

This set of queries came in from a couple of students, and we liked senior scientist Martin Elvis's responses so much that we thought we'd post them for everyone to see.

How do you feel the telescope has changed the scientific view on our universe?

Hugely! Before the telescope we thought the universe was big, but we really had no idea how big. Telescopes immediately showed us that there were vastly more stars out there than we had thought, but it took lots of work making bigger and better telescopes -- and learning how to use them. It took lots of work before we started to know how far away the stars were (using "parallax"), where we fit into the Milky Way, our galaxy (on the edge - dust in space hid our view so we thought we were in the middle), and the Milky Way into the scheme of all galaxies. It's a LONG story, and always our view widens, and is still widening. Now we can see back to when the galaxies were forming, but we have only just begun to find planets around other stars.

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