On the Dark Side (Part I)

When you look up at the night sky, you see a lot of things glowing like stars, planets, and galaxies. So it might sound strange to hear that most of the Universe is actually dark. The truth is the protons, neutrons and electrons that make up everything we can see - and that means with every telescopes we've got -- accounts for only about 4% of the mass and energy of the Universe. The rest is dark and mysterious. More specifically, about 70% of the Universe is what is known as dark energy; about 26% is so-called dark matter.


The "Death Star Galaxy": An Insider's Scoop

Hello! Hopefully by now you'll have read a little about 3C 321, aka the "Death Star Galaxy" from

I've Never Seen Star Wars But....

Dr. Dan Evans from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA, shares some information on 3c321, as of December 2007 now known as the Death Star Galaxy. Dan Evans has never seen Star Wars, so who came up with the nickname? Read on.

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NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has opened up a

Science Behind the Scenes: RX J0720

The press and image releases from the Chandra X-ray Center cover only a small fraction of the science results produced by Chandra each year. Some results are clearly not good candidates for publicity because they're obviously incremental - I've written papers like that myself. Or they can be highly esoteric, addressing questions that only the authors knew enough about the subject to ask!


A Kaleidoscope of Color: Making X-ray Images

The detectors we use on Chandra are different from detectors on optical telescopes. Most of the Chandra images are taken with what's known as a Charged Coupled Device (CCD). The CCD is the type of detector that's in the camera in your cell phone, or in your digital camera.


Chandra Highlights from the AAS: Black Holes and Jelly Beans

Last week, the American Astronomical Society held its bi-annual meeting in Austin, TX. (The AAS, as it's known, always has a winter meeting in early January and then a spring meeting around Memorial Day.) The AAS meetings are important because the AAS is the largest professional group of astronomers in the US and so they often bring some of their most exciting results to share.


Chandra Showcase for Google Sky

The latest version of Sky in Google Earth, released on January 09, 2008 at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Austin, Texas, now contains X-ray images from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. Along with images from other NASA satellites, the addition of Chandra into Sky in Google Earth provides scientists, students, and amateur stargazers new opportunities to explore the Universe across the electromagnetic spectrum. Eli Bressert, Image Processor at the Chandra X-ray Center, discusses the Sky in Google Earth update.

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Do X-ray Astronomers Wear Lead Aprons?

Dr. Patrick Slane from the Chandra X-ray Center presented an overview of the Chandra X-ray Observatory to NASA's museum alliance. This part of the conversation talks about how X-ray Astronomy connects to medical X-rays and what people experience with X-rays from the doctor.

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Everybody is familiar with going to the doctor and having a big X-ray machine kind of point at you and having a film put somewhere and then getting a picture. And at many times, I’ve been asked the question, is it dangerous to shine all those X-rays out in the space from Chandra.


The Coolest Things in the Universe...or, Impressing Your Co-Workers

Dr. David Pooley is an astrophysicist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Before landing at the home of the Badgers, Dave was at the University of California at Berkeley after getting his Ph.D. from MIT. He shares his thoughts on what's interesting in the Universe in this installment of the Chandra blog.

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What Does the Future Hold?

Dr. Michael Muno continues his discussion in part II of his blog.
While focused on the present, Mike Muno, an astrophysicist at Caltech, has thoughts about where he would like to see his research go in the future. In this post, he discusses what he hopes to be studying with X-rays in the upcoming years.

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The future holds several planned and proposed observatories that I am keen on using. In the medium term, I plan to work with data from an innovative X-ray telescope that will be one of the first to produce focused images in harder X-rays. That instrument,

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