News Column

Chandra X-ray Observatory Turns 15

July 25, 2014

NASA reported that the agency's Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched into space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia 15 years ago.

NASA noted in a release that since its deployment on July 23, 1999, Chandra has helped revolutionize our understanding of the universe through its unrivaled X-ray vision.

Chandra, one of NASA's current "Great Observatories," along with the Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope, is specially designed to detect X-ray emission from hot and energetic regions of the universe.

To celebrate Chandra's 15th anniversary, four new images of supernova remnants - the Crab Nebula, Tycho, G292.0+1.8, and 3C58 - are being released. These supernova remnants are very hot and energetic and glow brightly in X-ray light, which allows Chandra to capture them in exquisite detail.

"Chandra changed the way we do astronomy. It showed that precision observation of the X-rays from cosmic sources is critical to understanding what is going on," said Paul Hertz, NASA's Astrophysics Division director in Washington. "We're fortunate we've had 15 years - so far - to use Chandra to advance our understanding of stars, galaxies, black holes, dark energy, and the origin of the elements necessary for life."

Originally called the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility (AXAF), the telescope was first proposed to NASA in 1976. Prior to its launch aboard the shuttle, the observatory was renamed in honor of the late Indian-American Nobel laureate, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar.

"Chandra continues to be one of the most successful missions that NASA has ever flown as measured against any metric - cost, schedule, technical success and, most of all, scientific discoveries," said Martin Weisskopf, Chandra Project Scientist at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. "It has been a privilege to work on developing and maintaining this scientific powerhouse, and we look forward to many years to come."

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program for NASA'sScience Mission Directorate in Washington.

More information:

go.nasa.gov/1jXcXYT

www.nasa.gov/chandra

chandra.si.edu/15th

www.nasa.gov

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Source: Travel & Leisure Close - Up


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