This week, the American Astronomical Society held its bi-annual meeting in the fair city of Boston. Since those of us involved with Chandra spend most of our time on the other side of the river (meaning Cambridge), this is a chance to expand our horizons ever so slightly.
Of course, the big bonus of the AAS meeting is the ability to hear talks and mingle with people who don’t work at our institution. It’s a chance to catch up with old colleagues and meet new ones. In a world increasingly dominating by electronic communication, there’s something irreplaceable about actually sitting across from someone in person.
This large Chandra image shows the Carina Nebula, a star-forming region in the Sagittarius-Carina arm of the Milky Way a mere 7,500 light years from Earth. Chandra's sharp X-ray vision has detected over 14,000 stars in this region, revealed a diffuse X-ray glow, and provided strong evidence that massive stars have already self-destructed in this nearby supernova factory.
A promise made is a debt unpaid. Robert Service
Chance favors the prepared mind. Louis Pasteur
Not long ago a request came down from above for a list of Chandra’s achievements that have “completely transformed the way we have viewed our world, solar system, sun, or universe."
In other words, how many discoveries of the century have you made this year?
A new movie from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory shows a sequence of Chandra images of the Crab Nebula, taken over an interval of seven months. Dramatic variations are seen, including the expansion of a ring of X-ray emission around the pulsar (white dot near center) and changes in the knots within this ring.
As part of our efforts to work with the formal education community (that is, generally K-12 schools), the Chandra EPO team works with the National Science Olympiad. The Olympiad is an excellent science competition that involves middle and high school teams from all 50 states, often getting kids involved at an even earlier age.
Like looking for Easter eggs in a lawn of long grass, the hunt for the Milky Way's most massive stars takes persistence and sharp eyes. In their stellar search through our Galactic backyard, astronomers have used powerful telescopes sensitive to X-ray and infrared radiation to find evidence for a substantial population of X-ray emitting massive stars.
Cady Coleman was one of the astronauts who helped launch Chandra aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia back in July 1999. While we have always appreciated her many talents -- chemist, Air Force officer, astronaut, and mother -- we didn’t realize that we were missing out on another: flutist.
The center of this image contains an extraordinary gamma-ray burst (GRB) called GRB 110328A, observed with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. This Chandra observation confirms the association of GRB 110328A with the core of a distant galaxy and shows that it was an exceptionally long lived and luminous event compared to other GRBs.
This week, NASA announced the selection of three prestigious fellowships, each named after a distinguished scientist: Einstein, Hubble, and Sagan. Every year, NASA awards these fellowships to recent Ph.D.s in astronomy, physics or a related field. The Chandra X-ray Center oversees the Einstein Fellowships, which cover the topics in high-energy astrophysics. The Space Telescope Science Institute runs the Hubble Fellowships, and JPL is in charge of the Sagan ones.
This image comes from a very deep Chandra observation of the Tycho supernova remnant, produced by the explosion of a white dwarf star in our Galaxy. Low-energy X-rays (red) in the image show expanding debris from the supernova explosion and high energy X-rays (blue) show the blast wave, a shell of extremely energetic electrons . These high-energy X-rays show a pattern of X-ray "stripes" never previously seen in a supernova remnant. By rolling the mouse over the color image above, two regions containing stripes in the high energy image can be seen superimposed on the full color version. Some of the brightest stripes can also directly be seen in the full color image, on the right side of the remnant pointing from the outer rim to the interior. The stellar background is from the Digitized Sky Survey and only shows stars outside the remnant.
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