General

Cosmic Fireworks

Jun
30

This week, many Americans will celebrate the 4th of July by enjoying fireworks. We love to see the explosion, followed by the colorful debris field as it expands and rains down from the sky. And, fireworks are often slightly different from one another – even if they originate from the same type of explosion. Of course, if they have different types or proportions of chemicals before in the explosive itself, the fireworks can look dramatically different. And, don’t forget that the environment they explode into – include wind or clouds of smoke – can affect how they look.

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From Earth to the Universe (fettupicts.jpg)

Jun
10

This image was uploaded with the post From Earth to the Universe.

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Try Out the Universe on Your Desktop

May
13

In the last year we have seen tremendous development in visualizing the Universe through the digital world. Google Sky and Wikisky are examples of this progress. These interfaces have taken well-known all-sky surveys and detailed observations to create virtual observatories that show our nearest planetary neighbors, like Mars and Jupiter, to the most distant galaxies in the Universe.

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Give that telescope a blanket

May
07

One of the most important tasks involved with having telescopes in space is keeping them at the correct and constant temperature. It's not just because telescopes like Chandra like to be comfortable – it's crucial in making the instruments perform as they should and return accurate science.

Chandra telescope
Interactive Chandra (flash)

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Chandra Does Its Part For The Earth

Apr
22

When we talk about what Chandra observes, we're usually discussing things like black holes or galaxies or stars. But Chandra is a pretty amazing telescope and it can study many things in the Universe – including the Earth.

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Where does the "X" in "X-ray" come from?

Apr
09

Here's a piece of high-energy astrophysics trivia (you never know when you might need to know these things). Where does the "X" in "X-ray" come from?

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The Zen of Astrophysics

Apr
09

Speaking in broad generalities, there are two main classes of physicist: those who generate new hypotheses and those who generate new data. The former are called "theorists" and the latter, in most of physics, are called "experimentalists." In astrophysics, we're called "observers" because we can't do experiments in the traditional sense. We have no knobs to turn, no switches to flip; we can't turn the dial to a maximally spinning black hole just to see what happens (oh, what fun that would be!).

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Single Spacecraft Seeking Friends

Mar
21

The Chandra X-ray Observatory is now in its ninth year in orbit around the Earth, and things are sometimes lonely out there. So we've been helping Chandra to use the web to reach out to others who like to network online. Here are a few ways to get in touch with Chandra.

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A Kaleidoscope of Color: Making X-ray Images

Jan
23

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.

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