This week, about 200 scientists are gathered in Boston to describe, discuss, and dissect the past ten years of Chandra science. The symposium, dubbed "Chandra's First Decade of Discovery," has some exciting happenings. First, the astronauts from STS-93, the Space Shuttle mission that launched Chandra into orbit back in July 1999, are here. They are going to participate in a session this afternoon on "The History of Chandra." In addition to the astronauts, key scientists responsible for Chandra being the success that it is will be on hand. Tomorrow, Nobel-Prize winner Riccardo Giacconi will address the conference. Dr. Giaconni won the Nobel for physics for his work in the field of X-ray astronomy, including, of course, Chandra.
A dramatic new vista of the center of the Milky Way galaxy from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory exposes new levels of the complexity and intrigue in the Galactic center. The mosaic of 88 Chandra pointings represents a freeze-frame of the spectacle of stellar evolution, from bright young stars to black holes, in a crowded, hostile environment dominated by a central, supermassive black hole.
This composite image of the Hydra A galaxy cluster shows 10-million-degree gas observed by Chandra in blue and jets of radio emission observed by the Very Large Array in pink. Optical data (in yellow) from the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope and the Digitized Sky Survey shows galaxies in the cluster.
Everyone around here knows that Boston likes to consider itself the "Hub of the Universe". This month, it really is. Opening this weekend, two outdoor exhibitions â€“ at the Museum of Science and UMass-Boston â€“ will help Bostonians explore their place in the cosmos.
Those of you who are regularly readers of the Chandra blog already have heard a great deal about this project. But for the rest of you, here's some background.
Parents can play an important part in helping their child explore the world around them. Space might seem far out there, but it can ignite your child's imagination â€” and can cause them to zip around your living room pretending to be a rocket among the outer planets.
We have developed a lot of educational Chandra activities and products to do just that (ignite your child's imagination that is, not send them to the outer planets!). Here are three easy things to try with your young child (ages 5-8) to bring a little bit of Chandra and the rest of the Universe right to them.
Last week, we released the Chandra image of an object known as Cygnus X-1. At first glance, Cygnus X-1 might not look that important â€“ even with Chandraâ€™s excellent X-ray vision â€“ but this is one case where itâ€™s good not to judge a book by its cover.
Ten years ago tomorrow (August 26th), the official First Light image from Chandra was released to the world. The image was of the famous supernova remnant Cassiopeia A, taken less than a month after Chandra was deployed by the Space Shuttle Columbia.
Snapshots of Cassiopeia A
OK, technically speaking, this week's International Astronomical Union (IAU) meeting is not on the beach in Copacabana, but it is in Rio de Janeiro. Most of the attendees are staying at hotels in the made-famous-by-Barry-Manilow section of Rio, but the conference is really being held at the Sul America Convention Center (see picture) in the central part of the city. (The alternate headline for this post was going to be "The Girl from Ipanema" so maybe the one being used now seems a little less cheesy by comparison.)
It's been ten years since Chandra was launched. A decade is a long time for a spacecraft, or any other complex machine, to operate without maintenance. Hubble has been up 18 years (launch 1991), but it has had regular maintenance with five Space Shuttle crews putting in new instruments and replacing worn out old parts. Chandra, on the other hand, was deliberately placed where the Shuttle couldn't service it. So Chandra's not doing badly considering there will be no 200-million-mile/10-year tune up!
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