A Solar Flare That Will Blow Your Socks Off

By now many of you who follow the Sun have probably heard about the “solar flare that will blow your socks off,” which occurred in early morning of Sunday June 7. Here at the Chandra X-ray Center we watched it too -- with some pride as our colleagues downstairs with the Solar Dynamics Observatory were responsible for some of the movies that were being circulated around the Internet. On the one hand, an M2 is a medium-sized event and not usually a big deal. On the other hand, I also thought of a slogan written on my whiteboard a few years ago, “West limb worry.”


NASA's Chandra Finds Massive Black Holes Common in Early Universe

Correction: After this paper (Treister et al. 2011) was published and publicized a problem was discovered with the background subtraction used. Analysis by several groups, including the Treister et al. team, plus Willott (2011) and Cowie et al. (2012), shows that a significant detection of AGN (growing black holes) in the early universe can no longer be claimed.

Editor's Note: Honest errors such as this are part of the scientific process, especially on the frontiers of discovery. To quote Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek, "If you don't make mistakes, you're not working on hard enough problems. And that's a big mistake."

References:

Cowie, L. et al. 2012, ApJ, in press
http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/1110.3326

Treister, E. et al. 2011, Nature, 474, 356
http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/1106.3079

Willott, C. 2011, ApJ, 742, L8
http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/1110.4118

Chandra Deep Field South
This composite image from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope (HST) combines the deepest X-ray, optical and infrared views of the sky. Using these images, astronomers have obtained the first direct evidence that black holes are common in the early Universe and shown that very young black holes grew more aggressively than previously thought.

Black Hole Webchat Tomorrow

If you’re one who follows astro-news regularly, you’ve probably heard by now that there will be a Chandra press conference. While we can't give out too much information in advance, we can say that this press conference covers black holes in the early Universe. This event will be televised on NASA TV and anyone can watch it live, beginning at 1pm Eastern, and follow #babyblackholes on Twitter


"5 Days. 50 Events. Infinite Ideas."

WSF

That's the tag line for this year's World Science Festival (WSF), currently ongoing throughout New York City. As with the previous incarnations, this year's WSF will culminate in a big science party in and around Washington Square Park on Sunday, June 5th. Once again, "From Earth to the Universe" (FETTU) will be there to help spread a little bit of the cosmos across the asphalt. FETTU can be found just to the southwest of the big fountain in the middle of the park (see the map). The good folks from NY Skies will be on hand to answer any questions you might have on the images. For those in the NYC area this weekend, try to stop by and enjoy the Big Apple's big show for science.

-Megan Watzke, CXC


The AAS Comes to Boston

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.


Nearby Supernova Factory Ramps Up

Carina Nebula
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.


Chandra: Promises Made and Kept

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?

The Crab in Action & The Case of The Dog That Did Not Bark

Crab Nebula

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.


From Science Olympiad to Scientist: Jeffrey Silverman

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.

Hunting for the Milky Way's Heaviest Stars

J144547-5931 and J144701-5919

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.


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