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2001 Chandra X-Ray Observatory Photos
Chandra image of the NGC 4636 galaxy + Large (2242 x 1750, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 390, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

Chandra's images of the elliptical NGC 4636 show spectacular symmetric arms, or arcs, of hot gas extending 25,000 light years into a huge cloud of multimillion-degree-Celsius gas that envelopes the galaxy. At a temperature of 10 million degrees, the arms are 30 percent hotter than the surrounding gas cloud. The temperature jump, together with the symmetry and scale of the arms indicate that the arms are the leading edge of a galaxy-sized shock wave that is racing outward from the center of the galaxy at 435 miles (700 kilometers) per second. An explosion with an energy equivalent to several hundred thousand supernovas would be required to produce this effect. + Read More

Chandra image of Venus + Large (2229 x 1962, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 440, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

This Chandra image, the first X-ray image ever made of Venus, shows a half crescent due to the relative orientation of the sun, Earth and Venus. The X-rays from Venus are produced by fluorescent radiation from oxygen and other atoms in the atmosphere between 120 and 140 kilometers above the surface of the planet. In contrast, optical light from Venus is caused by the reflection from clouds 50 to 70 kilometers above the surface. Solar X-rays bombard the atmosphere of Venus, knock electrons out of the inner parts of atoms, and excite the atoms to a higher energy level. The atoms almost immediately return to their lower energy state with the emission of a fluorescent X-ray. A similar process involving ultraviolet light produces the visible light from fluorescent lamps. This and future X-ray images will enable scientists to examine regions of the Venusian atmosphere that are difficult to investigate otherwise. + Read More

Illustration of the binary system 44i Bootis + Large (3000 x 2228, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 333, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

This artist's conception depicts the two closely orbiting stars of 44i Bootis. These two stars circle around each other at a rapid rate, passing in front of one another every three hours. The red arrow in the illustration indicates the direction that the stars are orbiting. The plots to the right show Chandra data on X-ray emission from Neon ions. The four panels show the shift in wavelength at which the Neon X-ray emission peaks as the stars orbit one another. By using the Doppler effect-the same process that causes the wavelength of an ambulance's siren to shift down and up as the ambulance approaches and recedes-astronomers were able to pinpoint the location of the source of most of the X-rays. They found to their surprise that the large white spot on the larger star produces at least half of the X-rays from this system. In contrast, the X-ray active regions on our Sun tend to be near the equator. + Read More

image of G292.0+1.8 supernova + Large (1800 x 1802, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 500, 72 ppi)
+ Thumbnail (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has captured a spectacular image of G292.0+1.8, a young, oxygen-rich supernova remnant with a pulsar at its center surrounded by outflowing material.  Astronomers know that pulsars are formed in supernova explosions, but they are currently unable to identify what types of massive stars must die in order for a pulsar to be born.  Now that Chandra has revealed strong evidence for a pulsar in G292.0+1.8, astronomers can use the pattern of elements seen in the remnant to make a much closer connection between pulsars and the massive stars from which they form. + Read More

Chandra-Hubble composite of Herbig Haro objects in Orion Nebula + Large (2850 x 1023, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 500, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

The image on the left is a Palomar Digital Sky Survey image of the region of the Orion Nebula that contains Herbig Haro objects known as HH1 and HH2. The inset, right, presents a zoom that shows the position of the X-ray source, the green circle, detected by Chandra in HH2, superimposed on a false-color optical image from the Hubble Space Telescope. Herbig Haro objects (HH) are clouds of dust and gas that are either part of high-speed jets of gas streaming away from very young stars, or clouds of gas that have been hit by such jets. The detection of X-rays from HH2 implies that a 600,000 miles per hour jet is plowing into a slower moving cloud. The resulting shock wave heats gas to a million degrees Celsius. The young star producing the jet is heavily obscured and detectable only with infrared and radio telescopes. In the image on the left, It lies about halfway between HH2, and HH1, the small bright cloud above and to the right of HH2. + Read More

Chandra Image of 3C58 3C58, the Remains of a Supernova + Large (3687 x 5333, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 723, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

Chandra's image of 3C58, the remains of a supernova observed on Earth in 1181 AD, shows a rapidly rotating neutron star embedded in a cloud of high energy particles. The data revealed that the neutron star, or pulsar, is rotating about 15 times a second, and is slowing down at the rate of about 10 microseconds per year. A comparison of the rate at which the pulsar is slowing down and its age indicate that the 3C58 pulsar, one of the youngest known pulsars, is rotating just about as fast now as when it was formed. + Read More

Chandra Image of Pulsar B1509-58 + Large (2254 x 1742, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 386, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

This Chandra image gave astronomers their first view of the energetic and complex nebula surrounding the young pulsar PSR B1509-58. The blue and purple colors indicate X-rays emitted by high-energy particles of matter and anti-matter which stream away from the pulsar. The pulsar itself is the bright white source at the center of the nebula. A thin jet, almost 20 light years in length, extends to the lower left, and traces a beam of particles being shot out from the pulsar's south pole at more than 130 million miles per hour. Just above the pulsar can be seen a small arc of X-ray emission, which marks a shock wave produced by particles flowing away from the pulsar's equator. + Read More

Chandra image of  EMSS 1358+6245 galaxy cluster + Large (2225 x 3000, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 674, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

The cluster of galaxies EMSS 1358+6245 about 4 billion light years away in the constellation Draco is shown in this Chandra image. When combined with Chandra's X-ray spectrum, this image allowed scientists to determine that the mass of dark matter in the cluster is about four times that of normal matter. The relative percentage of dark matter increases toward the center of the cluster. Measuring the exact amount of the increase enabled astronomers to set limits on the rate at which the dark matter particles collide with each other in the cluster. This information is extremely important to scientists in their quest to understand the nature of dark matter, which is thought to be the most common form of matter in the universe. + Read More

The blue dots represent galaxies far beyond our Milky Way. + Large (2250 x 2250, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 500, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

This Chandra image marks the deepest X-ray look at the "zone of avoidance" -- a region of space behind which no optical observation has ever been taken because thick clouds of dust and gas in the spiral arms of the Milky Way block visible radiation. X-rays, along with certain radio and infrared wavelengths, can penetrate this barrier, and Chandra provided the best look yet at what X-rays reveal. The diffuse blue emission is due to hot (ten million degree Celsius) gas concentrated along the plane of the Galaxy. + Read More

Chandra and Hubble composite image of spiral galaxy NGC 4631 + Large (2242 x 2242, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 500, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

This image shows central region of the spiral galaxy NGC 4631 as seen edge-on from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope. The Chandra data, shown in blue and purple, provide the first unambiguous evidence for a halo of hot gas surrounding a galaxy that is very similar to our Milky Way. The structure across the middle of the image and the extended faint filaments, shown in orange, represents the observation from Hubble that reveal giant bursting bubbles created by clusters of massive stars. Scientists have debated for more than 40 years whether the Milky Way has an extended corona, or halo, of hot gas. Observations of NGC 4631 and similar galaxies provide astronomers with an important tool in the understanding our own galactic environment. + Read More

NGC 7027 nebula + Large (2242 x 2208, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 492, 72 ppi)
Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi

Chandra's image of NGC 7027 represents the first detection of X-rays from this young planetary nebula that is about 3,000 light years from Earth. + Read More

Chandra and Hubble composite image of the Arches star cluster + Large (2258 x 2213, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 490, 72 ppi)
Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

This composite image shows the first halo of X-ray emission detected around a young cluster of stars, known as the Arches cluster. The Chandra data is seen as the diffuse blue emission in the inset box and represent the 60-million-degree gas that envelopes the multitude of young stars in the cluster. The Chandra data overlay a Hubble Space Telescope infrared image of the same region, in which some of the individual stars in the cluster can be seen as point-like sources. Both the X-ray and infrared observations are then shown in context of the spectacular filamentary structures that appear in radio wavelengths displayed in red. + Read More

Chandra image of “The Antennae” galaxies + Large (2250 x 2250, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 500, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

This Chandra X-ray image shows the central regions of two colliding galaxies known collectively as "The Antennae." The latest Chandra data reveal a large population of extremely bright X-ray sources in this area of intense star formation. These "ultraluminous" X-ray sources, which emit 10 to several hundred times more X-ray power than similar sources in our own galaxy, are believed to be either massive black holes, or black holes that are beaming their energy toward Earth. In this X-ray image, red represents the low energy band, green intermediate and blue the highest observed energies. The white and yellow sources are those that emit significant amounts of both low- and high-energy X-rays. The Antennae galaxies, about 60 million light years from Earth in the constellation Corvus, got their nickname from the wispy antennae-like streams of gas seen by optical telescopes. These wisps are believed to have been produced by the collision between the galaxies that began about 100 million years ago and is still occurring. + Read More

A cloud of gas and dust may be common to all quasars, but only visible at certain angles. + Large (2367 x 2367, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 500, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

This illustration demonstrates the possible different points-of-view from which astronomers observe quasars with X-ray satellites. If a quasar is oriented so that an observer's vantage point looks straight down the top of a quasar, then their view will not be obscured by the "donut" of gas and dust surrounding the core. This is the situation that astronomers believe occurs in "normal" quasars. However, 10 percent of quasars appear to absorb a great deal of their own radiation, including low-energy X-rays. Recent data from Chandra indicate that "shrouded" quasars appear this way because they are oriented so that astronomers are looking through the side of the obscuring ring of hot gas and dust. However, Chandra reveals that the underlying supermassive black holes behave like other quasars, and suggests that all quasars are the same types of object but just viewed from different angles. + Read More

47 Tucanae + Large (792 x 612, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 386, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

This Chandra image provides the first complete census of compact binary stars in the core the globular cluster known as 47 Tucanae. As the oldest stellar systems in the Milky Way Galaxy, globular clusters are laboratories for stellar and dynamical evolution. Nearly all objects in the Chandra images are "binary systems," in which a normal, Sun-like star companion orbits a collapsed star, either a white dwarf or neutron star. The data also reveal the presence of "millisecond pulsars" that rotate extremely rapidly, between 100 to nearly 1,000 times a second. The relative numbers and components of the binary systems tell scientists about the formation and evolution of the globular cluster. + Read More

Chandra image the inner portion of the Circinus Galaxy + Large (2254 x 2092, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 464, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

This Chandra X-ray image shows the inner portion of the Circinus Galaxy, with north at the top of the image and east to the left. In terms of X-ray energies, red represents low energy, green intermediate and blue the highest observed energies. The emission is resolved into a number of distinct components, many of which are associated with a central black hole. A bright, compact emission source is present at the center of the image. That nuclear source is surrounded by a diffuse X-ray halo that extends out several hundred light years. The X-rays directly to the northwest of the nucleus appear red, indicating predominantly soft energies, while the X-rays to the southeast are blue, indicating only hard energies. + Read More

Chandra spectrum image of black hole + Large (2224 x 1742, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (534 x 418, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

This Chandra X-ray Observatory image is a spectrum of a black hole, which is similar to the colorful spectrum of sunlight produced by a prism. The X-rays of interest are shown here recorded in the bright stripe that runs rightward and leftward from the center of the image. These X-rays are sorted precisely according to their energy with the highest-energy X-rays near the center of the image and the lower-energy X-rays farther out. + Read More

Chandra Deep Field South + Large (2967 x 3000, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 506, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

This one-million-second image, known as the "Chandra Deep Field South" since it is located in the Southern Hemisphere constellation of Fornax, is the deepest X-ray exposure ever achieved. Most of the objects seen in the Chandra Deep Field South are active galaxies and quasars powered by massive black holes. Also in this Chandra Deep Field South image, for the first time in such deep exposures astronomers detect X-rays from many galaxies, groups, and clusters of galaxies. + Read More

Chandra image of the Hubble Deep Field-North + Large (2989 x 3000, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 502, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

Shown is an extremely deep Chandra X-ray Observatory image of the Hubble Deep Field-North (HDF-N), the most intensively studied patch of the night sky at all wavelengths from radio to X-ray. This image is thus the best combination of the deepest imaging capabilities available in both the optical and X-ray regimes. + Read More

Hubble Deep Field-North. Left, and the Chandra Deep Field-North, right + Large (3000 x 1431, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 239, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

This side-by-side presentation of the Hubble Deep Field-North (left) and the Chandra Deep Field-North (right) clearly demonstrates the importance of looking at the Universe in both the optical and X-ray regimes. Twelve X-ray sources are detected in the HDF-N. The false colors represent the "X-ray color" of the objects. Objects that appear more red are cooler in the X-ray band, while objects that appear more blue are hotter in the X-ray band. + Read More

Chandra image of HGC 62 galaxy group + Large (2242 x 2250, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 502, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

A new Chandra image shows remarkable detail and complexity in the central region of the compact galaxy group known as HGC 62. Such galaxy groups, which contain fewer galaxies than the better-known galaxy clusters, are an important class of objects because they may serve as cosmic building blocks in the large-scale structure of the Universe. + Read More

Galaxy cluster 3C294 + Large (2356 x 2356, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (565 x 565, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

This Chandra image shows hot gas enveloping the extremely distant galaxy known as 3C294. Astronomers believe this is the most distant cluster of galaxies ever detected in X-rays, capturing it when the universe was only 20 percent of its current age. The existence of such a faraway cluster may have important implications for how the universe evolved. + Read More

Sagittarius A East + Large (2250 x 2250, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 500, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

This Chandra X-ray image shows the relationship between the black hole Sagittarius A* and the supernova remnant Sagittarius A East, both of which are located in the center of our galaxy in the constellation Sagittarius. For the first time, astronomers using Chandra were able to separate the supernova remnant, Sagittarius A East, from other complex structures in the center of the Milky Way. From the Chandra image, scientists can clearly see that Sagittarius A East surrounds Sagittarius A*, the Milky Way's central black hole found near the white dots in the lower-right portion of the central object. + Read More

NGC 3603 + Large (3030 x 2401, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 396, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

NGC 3603 is a bustling region of star birth in the Carina spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy, about 20,000 light-years from Earth. For the first time, this Chandra image resolves the multitude of individual X-ray sources in this star-forming region. The intensity of the X-rays observed by Chandra are depicted by the various colors in this image. Green represents lower intensity sources, while purple and red indicate increasing X-ray intensity. Specifically, the Chandra image reveals dozens of extremely massive stars born in a burst of star formation about two million years ago. + Read More

Chandra uncovers new evidence for event horizons surrounding black holes + Large (2254 x 1742, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 247, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

(Top) Gas from the companion star is drawn by gravity onto the black hole in a swirling pattern. As the gas nears the event horizon, a strong gravitational redshift makes it appear redder and dimmer. When the gas finally crosses the event horizon, it disappears from view. Because of this, the region within the event horizon appears black. (Bottom)As above, gas from the companion star flows down onto the collapsed star--in this case a neutron star instead of a black hole. As the gas approaches the neutron star, a similar gravitational redshift makes the gas appear redder and dimmer. However, when the gas strikes the solid surface of the neutron star, it glows brightly. + Read More

NGC6543 Cat's Eye Nebula + Large (2254 x 1113, 300 ppi)
+ Medium (500 x 247, 72 ppi)
+ Small (100 x 100, 72 ppi)

(Left image) The X-ray data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory have revealed a bright central star surrounded by a cloud of multimillion-degree gas in the planetary nebula known as the Cat's Eye. (Right image) This composite image of Chandra and Hubble Space Telescope data offers astronomers an opportunity to compare where the hotter, X-ray emitting gas appears in relation to the cooler material seen in optical wavelengths. + Read More
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