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2005 Chandra X-Ray Observatory Photos
Chandra X-ray view of Earth’s polar region, shown on a simulated image of the Earth. Led by Dr. Ron Elsner of the Marshall Center, a team of scientists has used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory to scan Earth’s northern polar region. The results show that the aurora borealis, or "northern lights," also dance in X-ray light, creating changing bright arcs of X-ray energy above the Earth's surface. The Marshall Center manages the Chandra program. + Read More

Chandra X-ray image of the Perseus galaxy cluster Scientists using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory have discovered evidence of energetic plumes – particles that extend 300,000 light years into a massive cluster of galaxies. Resulting from explosive venting from the vicinity of a supermassive black hole, the plumes provide dramatic new evidence of the influence a black hole can have over intergalactic distances. The Marshall Center manages the Chandra program. + Read More

Chandra and optical image of the Supernova Remnants DEM L316. NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has revealed a cat-shaped image produced by the remnants of two exploded stars. Located 160,000 light years from Earth in the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy, the two stars are of different ages – suggesting it is very unlikely they exploded very close to each other. The Marshall Center manages the Chandra program. + Read More

Chandra X-ray image of the star cluster Westerlund 1 A very massive star collapsed to form a neutron star, and not a black hole as anticipated, according to new results from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. This discovery shows that nature has a harder time making black holes than previously thought. The Marshall Center manages the Chandra program. + Read More

Chandra X-ray image of the Milky Way galaxy, centered around the super-massive black hole, Sagittarius A*. NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has revealed a new generation of stars spawned by a super-massive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. This novel mode of star formation may solve several mysteries about the super-massive black holes that reside at the centers of nearly all galaxies. The Marshall Center manages the Chandra program. + Read More

Chandra image of Tycho’s supernova remnant In 1572, the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe observed and studied the explosion of a star that became known as Tycho's supernova. More than four centuries later, Chandra's image of the supernova remnant shows an expanding bubble of multimillion degree debris (green and red) inside a more rapidly moving shell of extremely high energy electrons (filamentary blue). + Read More

Chandra and Hubble images of Supernova 1987A. Recent observations with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory have revealed new details about the fiery ring surrounding the stellar explosion that produced Supernova 1987A. The supernova occurred in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a galaxy only 160,000 light years from Earth. Information gleaned from Chandra offers insight into the behavior of the doomed star in the years before it exploded. The Marshall Center manages the Chandra program. + Read More

Illustration of neon abundance in stars. A NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory survey of Sun-like stars suggests there is nearly three times more neon in the Sun than previously believed. If true, this would solve a critical problem with understanding how the Sun works. Previous attempts to measure neon in the Sun have been frustrated by the fact that neon atoms give off no signatures in visible light. However, in a gas heated to millions of degrees, neon shines brightly in X-rays. The Marshall Center manages the Chandra program. + Read More

Chandra image of the globular star cluster 47 Tucanae. New Chandra observations give the best information yet on why neutron stars, called millisecond pulsars, are rotating so fast. The key, as in real estate, is location, location, location -- in this case the crowded confines of the globular star cluster 47 Tucanae, where stars are located less than a tenth of a light year apart. The Marshall Center manages the Chandra program. + Read More

Chandra data implies that J0806 is a binary star system with two white dwarf stars orbiting each other. Chandra data (above, graph) from observations of RX J0806.3+1527 (or J0806), show that its X-ray intensity varies with a period of 321.5 seconds. This implies that J0806 is a binary star system where two white dwarf stars are orbiting each other (above, illustration) approximately every 5 minutes. The short orbital period implies that the stars are only about 50,000 miles apart, a fifth of the distance from the Earth to the Moon, and are moving in excess of a million miles per hour. + Read More

Images taken Jan. 20, 2004, from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory indicate that Saturn may act as a mirror, reflecting explosive activity from the Sun.  Chandra captured the image at left just before a medium-sized flare occurred on the Sun. The image at right coincided with the solar flare and represents the first observation of an X-ray flare reflected from Saturn’s low-latitudes. When it comes to mysterious X-rays from Saturn, the ringed planet may act as a mirror, reflecting explosive activity from the Sun, according to scientists using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. The findings stem from the first observation of an X-ray flare reflected from Saturn’s low-latitudes. The Marshall Center manages the Chandra program. + Read More

Chandra image of the Orion Nebula Cluster Super-flares may have torched our young solar system, indicate Orion Nebula images captured by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. By affecting the planet-forming disk around the early Sun, these flares may have enhanced the survival chances of Earth. The Marshall Center manages the Chandra program. + Read More

X-ray image of a pair of interacting stars The Chandra image shows Mira A, a highly evolved red giant star, and Mira B, a white dwarf. Mira A is losing gas rapidly from its upper atmosphere via a stellar wind. Mira B exerts a gravitational tug that creates a gaseous bridge between the two stars. Gas from the wind and bridge accumulates in an accretion disk around Mira B and collisions between rapidly moving particles in the disk produce X-rays. + Read More

Era of galaxy and black hole growth spurt discovered The illustration shows two young galaxies in the process of merging. The merger has triggered a prodigious burst of star formation and is providing fuel for the growth of the galaxies' central supermassive black holes. + Read More

M74: X-rays signal presence of elusive intermediate-mass black hole This composite X-ray (red)/optical (blue & white) image of the spiral galaxy M74 highlights an ultraluminous X-ray source (ULX) shown in the box. ULX sources are distinctive because they radiate 10 to 1000 times more X-ray power than neutron stars and stellar mass black holes. Chandra observations of this ULX have provided evidence that its X-radiation is produced by a disk of hot gas swirling around a black hole with a mass of about 10,000 Suns.
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Chandra probes high-voltage auroras on Jupiter. Jupiter shows intense X-ray emission associated with auroras in its polar regions in this Chandra image. Extended monitoring by Chandra showed that the auroral X-rays are caused by highly charged particles crashing into the atmosphere above Jupiter's poles. The charged particles were primarily ions of oxygen and other elements that were stripped of most of their electrons, which implies that the ions were accelerated to high energies in a multimillion-volt environment above the planet's poles. + Read More

Lockman Hole: Weight limits for big black holes The Chandra mosaic of a region of the sky known as the Lockman Hole (named after astronomer Felix Lockman, who discovered that this region of the Galaxy is almost free of absorption by neutral hydrogen gas) shows hundreds of X-ray sources. The high spatial resolution of Chandra allowed for the identification of many supermassive black holes in this image. The Lockman Hole data and two other surveys with Chandra and the Hubble Space Telescope have provided a reasonably accurate census of supermassive black holes in the Universe. + Read More

Chandra finds missing matter This illustration shows the absorption of X-rays from the quasar Mkn 421 by two intergalactic clouds of diffuse hot gas, and a portion of the Chandra X-ray spectrum of the quasar. The spectrum provides evidence that three separate clouds of hot gas are filtering out, or absorbing X-rays from Mkn 421. Dips in the X-ray spectrum are produced when some of the X-rays are absorbed by ions of oxygen in the hot gas clouds which are located at various distances from Earth. + Read More

Chandra finds swarm of black holes These images are part of an ongoing Chandra program that monitors a region around the Milky Way's supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A*. Four bright, variable X-ray sources, or circles were discovered within three light years of Sgr A* -- the bright source just above Source C. The lower panel illustrates the strong variability of one of these sources. This variability, which is present in all the sources, is indicative of an X-ray binary system where a black hole or neutron star is pulling matter from a nearby companion star.
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Chandra discovers most powerful eruption in Universe. This Chandra image shows two vast cavities--each 600,000 light years in diameter--in the hot, X-ray emitting gas that pervades the galaxy cluster MS 0735.6+7421, or MS 0735 for short. Though the cavities contain very little hot gas, they are filled with a two-sided, elongated, magnetized bubble of extremely high-energy electrons that emit radio waves. The cavities appear on opposite sides of a large galaxy at the center of the cluster, which indicates that a gigantic eruption produced by the galaxy's supermassive black hole created the structures. + Read More