Chandra Images Gas Flowing Toward Black Hole

Jul
26

NGC 3115

The galaxy NGC 3115 is shown here in a composite image of data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT). Using the Chandra image, the flow of hot gas toward the supermassive black hole in the center of this galaxy has been imaged. This is the first time that clear evidence for such a flow has been observed in any black hole.

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Women in the High-Energy Universe: Kim Arcand

Jul
14

Kimberly Arcand has been a member of the Chandra Education & Public Outreach group since 1998. As the Media Production Coordinator, Kim's role includes oversight of a range of science outreach products and activities, including imaging and astronomical visualization, multimedia and print product development, exhibition creation and coordination, and development of museum/planetarium and broadcast products.

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A Pulsar and its Mysterious Tail

Jul
13

PSR J0357+3205

A spinning neutron star is tied to a mysterious tail - or so it seems. Astronomers using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory have found that this pulsar, known as PSR J0357+3205 (or PSR J0357 for short), apparently has a long, X-ray bright tail streaming away from it.

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A Time-lapsed View of Astronomy Night on the National Mall

Jul
11

On the evening of July 9th, as the intense heat of the summer sun on the National Mall faded into a cool breeze and sunlight gave way to a pale waxing gibbous moonlight, crowds quickly gathered at the National Air and Space Museum's public observatory for the 2nd annual Astronomy Night on the National Mall event.

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Astronomy on Display in DC

Jul
05

DC area Astronomy Night on the National Mall changed to Saturday July 9, 6-11 PM due to weather!

For those of you in or around the Nation's Capitol this post-July 4th week, be sure to take note of a free event happening in the heart of DC. On July 8th, from 6pm to 11pm, there will be all sorts of astronomy activities - including star gazing if weather permits – on the National Mall between 4th and 7th Streets.

FETTSS

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SAO + NASM = FETTSS @ SI

Jun
28

For those of you who don’t like acronyms (or who don't work for the government), the title of this post is probably indecipherable. It does, however, have quite a bit of meaning.

The translation into English is "Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and National Air and Space Museum makes "From Earth to the Solar System at the Smithsonian Institution."

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Chandra & the Carnival of Space

Jun
23

The Carnival of Space is a round up of astronomy and space-related blogs that started back in 2007. Every week, a different webmaster or blogger hosts the carnival, showcasing articles written on the topic of space. This week, it's our turn to host the Carnival here on the Chandra blog. Enjoy!

Welcome to this week’s Carnival of Space. We’ve got a lot to cover in the weekly blog carnival, so let’s jump right into it.

On WeirdWarp, Chris Dann features the latest view of the Centaurus A galaxy from the Hubble Space Telescope. This famous galaxy just seems to get better each time a telescope takes a new look.

Mike Simonsen at Simostronomy has an account of his recent trip to the Texas Star Party. Sounds like quite an event!

two giant planets
Over at Urban Astronomer, we find a write up of a newly discovered planetary system that didn't make too many headlines, but is fascinating nonetheless. This system apparently contains two giant planets around a pair of stars – a result that would have been pure science fiction just a few years ago.

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Pandora's Cluster Revealed

Jun
22

Chandra Deep Field South
One of the most complicated and dramatic collisions between galaxy clusters ever seen is captured in this new composite image. This collision site, known officially as Abell 2744, has been dubbed "Pandora's Cluster" because of the wide variety of different structures seen. Data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory are colored red, showing gas with temperatures of millions of degrees. In blue is a map showing the total mass concentration (mostly dark matter) based on data from the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT), and the Japanese Subaru telescope. Optical data from HST and VLT also show the constituent galaxies of the clusters.

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A Solar Flare That Will Blow Your Socks Off

Jun
20

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.”

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

Jun
15

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.

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