Since being launched in 1999, the Chandra X-ray Observatory has taught us many things about our universe. For example, it has given us beautiful pictures of stellar phenomenon that are trying to kill us.
Chandra is one of NASA’s “Great Observatories”, a designation that includes the Hubble Space Telescope, Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory, and Spitzer Space Telescope. Those four space telescopes have outdone Michael Bay in both of his areas of expertise. Black holes, supernovas, and other cosmic phenomena have way better special effects, and pulsars deliver radio blasts of gibberish at incredible levels.
In no particular order, here are our 10 favourite images from Chandra’s first 10 years. Please note that these are composite images, typically put together from several space-based telescopes.
- The Cartwheel Galaxy
It’s pictures like this that make us suspect that NASA has been feeding its fleet of robo-scopes some sort of robo-peyote.
It looks kind of like a cartwheel. Image credit: Composite: NASA/JPL/Caltech/P.Appleton et al. X-ray: NASA/CXC/A.Wolter & G.Trinchieri et al.
2. The Crescent Nebula
We added this one to the list because of how incredibly tacky it was. Why have we never seen this on a velvet painting at the midway? Don’t worry, though, it will explode in about a hundred thousand years, presumably out of shame after it reads this article.
Image credit: X-ray: NASA/UIUC/Y. Chu & R. Gruendl et al. Optical: SDSU/MLO/Y. Chu et al.
3. Star Formation in M33
As a respected provider of high-quality astrojournalism, we at New Frontier News are sometimes asked why astronomers so often use serial numbers instead of easy to remember names. The reason is simple: astronomers hate you, and each other. Various people refer to M33 as the Triangulum Galaxy, the Pinwheel Galaxy, and NGC 598.
Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/R. Tuellmann et al.; Optical: NASA/AURA/ STScIThis is a view of the largest region of star formation in M33. You’re looking at about 200 very young stars.
4. Supernova Remnant of G292.0+1.8
Look in awe at the sublime beauty of this awesome stellar event, and then feel ashamed because it probably wiped out some very nice civilizations.
Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Penn State/S.Park et al.; Optical: Pal.Obs. DSS
5. NGC 4649 is Dead Inside
NGC 4649 is a giant galaxy about 51 million light years from Earth that contains one of the biggest black holes ever found. The black hole, however, appears to be dormant. Yes, apparently that happens sometimes… Do they fill up or something?
Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of California Irvine/P.Humphrey et al. Optical: NASA/STScI
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