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2004 Chandra X-Ray Observatory Photos
 
Chandra observes Cassiopeia A. + Large (2242 x 2242, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (720 x 720, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

This spectacular image of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A is the most detailed image ever made of the remains of an exploded star. The one-million-second image shows a bright outer ring (green) 10 light years in diameter that marks the location of a shock wave generated by the supernova explosion. A large jet-like structure that protrudes beyond the shock wave can be seen in the upper left. In the accompanying image, specially processed to highlight silicon ions, a counter-jet can be seen on the lower right. + Read More

Chandra image reveals 
intergalactic hot gas clouds + Large (2242 x 2242, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (720 x 720, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

Chandra's image of the galaxy cluster Abell 2125 reveals a complex of several massive multimillion degree Celsius gas clouds appear to be in the process of merging. Ten of the point-like sources are associated with galaxies in the cluster and the rest are probably distant background galaxies. The small bright feature in the extreme lower right-hand corner is probably a background galaxy cluster not associated with Abell 2125. + Read More

Chandra and optical 
comparison of region surrounding McNeil's Nebula + Large (2987 x 2987, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (720 x 494, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

The X-ray/optical comparison of the region surrounding McNeil's Nebula shows that the position of a source detected by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory is coincident with that of a bright infrared and optical source at the apex of the nebula. Source 3 is thought to be a very young star and is illuminating the fan-shaped cloud of gas, or nebula. The others sources in the field, labeled 1, 2, and 4, are other young, X-ray emitting stars in the region. The small nebula, which lies in the constellation Orion about 1300 light years from Earth, was discovered with a 3-inch telescope by amateur astronomer Jay McNeil in January 2004. + Read More

Chandra image of the Milky 
Way Center + Large (2242 x 2242, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (720 x 720, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

This image was produced by combining a dozen NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory observations made of a 130 light-year region in the center of the Milky Way. The colors represent low (red), medium (green) and high (blue) energy X-rays. Thanks to Chandra's unique resolving power, astronomers have now been able to identify thousands of point-like X-ray sources due to neutron stars, black holes, white dwarfs, foreground stars, and background galaxies. What remains is a diffuse X-ray glow extending from the upper left to the lower right, along the direction of the disk of the galaxy. + Read More

Composite image of the 
supernova remnant W49B + Large (2400 x 2400, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (720 x 720, 72 ppi)">
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

A composite image from NASA's Chandra X-ray observatory (blue) and from the Palomar 200-inch telescope (red and green) of the supernova remnant W49B reveals a barrel-shaped nebula consisting of bright infrared rings around a glowing bar of intense X-radiation along the axis. The X-rays in the bar are produced by 15 million degree Celsius gas that is rich in iron and nickel ions. At the ends of the barrel, the X-ray emission flares out to make a hot cap. The X-ray cap is surrounded by a flattened cloud of hydrogen molecules detected in the infrared. These features indicate that jets of hot gas produced in the supernova have encountered a large, dense cloud of gas and dust. + Read More

Chandra X-ray Image of 
Abell 2029 + Large (1854 x 2897, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 806, 72 ppi)


This Chandra X-ray Observatory image is a galaxy cluster from the latest study of dark energy, from a total of 26 clusters in the sample. Abell 2029's distance corresponds to a light travel time of 1 billion years. The red diffuse emission shows hot intergalactic gas, heated to about 100 million degrees by the enormous gravity in the cluster, and visible only in X-rays. The distances to the clusters in the sample can be derived from the Chandra observations by calculating the relative amounts of hot gas and dark matter. These distances show that the expansion of the Universe began accelerating about six billion years ago. Scale: Image is 8 x 5 arcmin

NASA Chandra X-ray 
Observatory/Optical Composite of Abell 2029
+ Large (1863 x 2897, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 802, 72 ppi)">
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

This optical (blue) and NASA's Chandra X-ray (red-orange) composite image shows Abell 2029, a cluster of galaxies. A large elliptical galaxy is visible in the center of the image, surrounded by smaller galaxies. The red diffuse emission shows hot intergalactic gas, heated to about 100 million degrees by the enormous gravity in the cluster, and visible only in X-rays. This galaxy cluster has a redshift of 0.078, at a distance corresponding to a light travel time of one billion years. Scale: Image is 8 x 5 arcmin

Optical Image of Abell 
2029 + Large (1863 x 2897, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 802, 72 ppi)">
_ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

This optical image from the Kitt Peak 0.9m telescope shows Abell 2029, a cluster of galaxies. A arge elliptical galaxy is visible in the center of the image, surrounded by smaller galaxies. This galaxy cluster has a redshift of 0.078, at a distance corresponding to a light travel time of one billion years. Scale: Image is 8 x 5 arcmin

NASA Chandra X-ray 
Observatory image of MACSJ1423.8+2404 + Large (1863 x 2897, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 802, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

The Chandra X-ray image of the galaxy cluster MACSJ1423 shows hot gas displayed in red. The mass of the hot gas is about 6 times greater than the mass of all the billions of stars in all of the galaxies in the cluster. This galaxy cluster has a redshift of 0.54, at a distance corresponding to a light travel time of 5.4 billion years. Scale: Image is 8 x 5 arcmin

NASA Chandra X-ray 
Observatory image MS2137.3-2353 + Large (1867 x 2897, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 800, 72 ppi)
+ Small ( 100 x 100, 72 ppi)

This Chandra image is a galaxy cluster from the latest study of dark energy (from a total of 26 clusters in the sample). MS2137's distance corresponds to a light travel time of 3.6 billion years. The red diffuse emission shows hot intergalactic gas, heated to about 100 million degrees by the enormous gravity in the cluster, and visible only in X-rays. The distances to the clusters in the sample can be derived from the Chandra observations by calculating the relative amounts of hot gas and dark matter. These distances show that the expansion of the Universe began accelerating about six billion years ago. Scale: Image is 8 x 5 arcmin

Optical image of 
MACSJ1423.8+2404 + Large (1858 x 2897, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 804, 72 ppi)">
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

This image of the galaxy cluster MACSJ1423 is a 3-color optical image from the Subaru prime focus camera. It shows white and blue galaxies centered around a large elliptical galaxy. The mass of the hot gas is about 6 times greater than the mass of all the billions of stars in all of the galaxies in the cluster. This galaxy cluster has a redshift of 0.54, at a distance corresponding to a light travel time of 5.4 billion years. Scale: Image is 2.56 x 1.6 arcmin

NASA's Chandra X-ray 
Observatory/Optical Composite of MACSJ1423.8+2404 + Large (1858 x 2897, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 804, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

This composite image shows views of the galaxy cluster MACSJ1423, using optical and X-ray telescopes. The optical image, a 3-color composite from the Subaru prime focus camera, shows white and blue galaxies centered around a large elliptical galaxy. The Chandra X-ray image shows hot gas displayed in red. The mass of the hot gas is about 6 times greater than the mass of all the billions of stars in all of the galaxies in the cluster. This galaxy cluster have a redshift of 0.54, at a distance corresponding to a light travel time of 5.4 billion years. Scale: Image is 2.56 x 1.6 arcmin

Energy Distribution of the 
Universe + Large (3000 x 2025, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 486, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

The new Chandra observations include estimates of the total energy content of the Universe. As shown in this illustration, dark energy is estimated to contribute about 75% of the energy in the Universe, dark matter about 21% and normal matter about 4%. Only the normal matter can be directly detected with telescopes, and about 85% of this is hot, intergalactic gas, as detected in Chandra observations of galaxy clusters.

Giant galaxy's violent past 
comes into focus + Large (2675 x 4267, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 798, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

Two observations by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory of the giant elliptical galaxy M87 were combined to make this long-exposure image. A central jet is surrounded by nearby bright arcs and dark cavities in the multimillion degree Celsius atmosphere of M87. Much further out, at a distance of about fifty thousand light years from the galaxy's center, faint rings can be seen and two spectacular plumes extend beyond the rings. These features, together with radio observations, are dramatic evidence that repetitive outbursts from the central supermassive black hole have been affecting the entire galaxy for a hundred million years or more. The faint horizontal streaks are instrumental artifacts that occur for bright sources. + Read More

Chandra image of the star 
SNR 0540-69.3 + Large (2242 x 2242, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (720 x 720, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

The NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory image of SNR 0540-69.3 clearly shows two aspects of the enormous power released when a massive star explodes. An implosion crushed material into an extremely dense (10 miles in diameter) neutron star, triggering an explosion that sent a shock wave rumbling through space at speeds in excess of 5 million mph. The image reveals a central intense white blaze of high-energy particles about 3 light years across created by the rapidly rotating neutron star, or pulsar. Surrounding the white blaze is a shell of hot gas 40 light years in diameter that marks the outward progress of the supernova shock wave. + Read More

Chandra image of 
Titan crossing in front of the Crab Nebula + Large (2942 x 2242, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (720 x 549, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

On January 5, 2003, Titan — Saturn's largest moon and the only moon in the solar system with a thick atmosphere — crossed in front of the Crab Nebula, a bright, extended X-ray source. Titan's transit enabled Chandra to image the one-arcsecond-diameter X-ray shadow cast by the moon (inset). This tiny shadow corresponds to the size of a dime as viewed from two and a half miles. The diameter of Titan's shadow was found to be larger than the known diameter of its solid surface. This difference in diameters yields a measurement of about 550 miles (880 kilometers) for the height of the X-ray absorbing region of Titan's atmosphere. + Read More

Composite Chandra X-ray 
image and illustration of Saturn + Large (1517 x 2987, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (720 x 366, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

The Chandra image of N49B, left, the remains of an exploded star, shows a cloud of multimillion-degree gas that has been expanding for about 10,000 years. A specially processed version of this image, right, reveals unexpectedly large concentrations of the element magnesium, shown in blue. Magnesium, created deep inside the star and ejected in the supernova explosion, is usually associated with correspondingly high concentrations of oxygen. However, the Chandra data indicate that the amount of oxygen in N49B is not exceptional. This poses a puzzle as to how the excess magnesium was created, or, alternatively, how the excess oxygen has escaped detection. + Read More

Composite Chandra X-ray 
image and illustration of Saturn + Large (2987 x 1550, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (720 x 374, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

Chandra's image of Saturn held some surprises for the observers. First, Saturn's 90 megawatts of X-radiation is concentrated near the equator. This is different from a similar gaseous giant planet, Jupiter, where the most intense X-rays are associated with the strong magnetic field near its poles. Saturn's X-ray spectrum, or the distribution of its X-rays according to energy, was found to be similar to that of X-rays from the Sun. This indicates that Saturn's X-radiation is due to the reflection of solar X-rays by Saturn's atmosphere. The intensity of these reflected X-rays was unexpectedly strong. + Read More

Composite image of the 
galaxy C153 + Large (2254 x 2254, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (720 x 720, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

Chandra observations of the spiral galaxy M101 and several other nearby galaxies have revealed a possible new class of X-ray sources. These mysterious X-ray sources, marked with diamonds in the image, are called “quasisoft” sources because they have a temperature in the range of one to four million degrees Celsius. The power output of quasisoft sources is comparable to or greater than that of neutron stars or stellar-mass black holes fueled by the infall of matter from companion stars. This implies that the region that produces the X-rays in a quasisoft source is dozens of times larger. + Read More

Illustration of a black 
hole destroying a star in the galaxy RXJ1242-11 + Medium (648 x 504, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

X-ray data from Chandra, the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton, and the German Roengtensatellite (ROSAT) X-ray observatories provide direct evidence for the catastrophic destruction of a star that wandered too close to a supermassive black hole. The accompanying illustration, top, depicts how such an event may have occurred. A close encounter with another star put the doomed star — shown by the orange circle — on a path that took it near a supermassive black hole. The enormous gravity of the giant black hole stretched the star until it was torn apart. Because of the momentum and energy of the accretion process, only a few percent of the disrupted star's mass — indicated by the white stream — was swallowed by the black hole, while the rest of was flung away into the surrounding galaxy. + Read More

Chandra image of the 
Antennae galaxies + Large (2233 x 2775, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (720 x 895, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

This montage of NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory images shows a pair of interacting galaxies known as The Antennae. Rich deposits of neon, magnesium, and silicon were discovered in the interstellar gas of this system. The top image, a wide field X-ray view, reveals spectacular loops of hot gas spreading out from the southern part of The Antenna into intergalactic space. Also shown are huge clouds of multimillion-degree gas and bright point like sources due to neutron stars and black holes. The image is color coded so that low, medium and high energy X-rays appear as red, green and blue, respectively. + Read More

Photo description: Composite 
image of the galaxy C153 + Large (2400 x 1184, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (720 x 355, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

These images offer a dramatic look at C153, a galaxy being ripped apart as it races at 4.5 million miles per hour through a distant cluster of galaxies. The infalling galaxy's gas is being stripped by the pressure of 20 million degree Celsius gas that permeates the cluster. At left is a composite image made by combining the four images at right, taken in X-ray, radio, and visible wavelengths as well as the visible, green light emitted by oxygen ions. Long comet-like streamers of gas can be seen flowing from the galaxy as it travels through the cluster called Abell 2125. The images span about one million light-years. + Read More

Composite image of 
the galaxy cluster RCDS1252.9-292 + Large (2400 x 2397, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (576 x 575, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x100, 72 ppi)

A color composite image of the galaxy cluster RCDS1252.9-292 shows the X-ray, in purple, light from 70-million-degree Celsius gas in the cluster and the optical -- shown in red, yellow and green -- light from the galaxies in the cluster. X-ray data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the XMM-Newton Observatory show that this cluster was fully formed more than 8 billion years ago, and has a mass at least 300 trillion times that of the Sun. At a distance of 8.6 billion light years, it is the most massive cluster ever observed at such an early stage in the evolution of the universe. + Read More