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Recent Podcast
Space Scoop: Sweeping Supernovas
Space Scoop: Sweeping Supernovas
This space photograph shows a supernova remnant that is sweeping up a remarkable amount of material. (2014-04-16)
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Animations & Video: Featured Image Tours
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1. Tour of NGC 604
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only NGC 604 is a divided neighborhood in the galaxy M33, where some 200 hot, young massive stars reside. In this composite image, X-ray data from Chandra are blue, while optical light data from Hubble are seen as red, green and yellow. Bubbles in the cooler gas and dust seen by Hubble have been generated by powerful stellar winds, which are then filled with hot, X-ray-emitting gas. Scientists find the amount of hot gas detected in the bubbles on the right side corresponds to the amount entirely powered by the winds from the 200 massive stars. The situation is different on the left side, where the amount of X-ray gas cannot explain the brightness of the X-ray emission. The bubbles on the left side appear to be much older and were likely created and powered by young stars and supernovas in the past.
[Runtime: 0.53]
(NASA/CXC/CfA/R. Tuellmann et al.; Optical: NASA/AURA/STScI)

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Click for high-resolution animation
2. Tour of NGC 6240
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only NGC 6240 is a system in which two supermassive black holes are a mere 3,000 light years apart, virtually nothing in astronomical terms. These black holes -- the two bright point-like sources in the middle -- are in such close proximity, scientists think they are in the act of spiraling toward each other. This is a process that began about 30 million years ago. It's estimated that the two black holes will eventually drift together and merge into a larger black hole some tens to hundreds of millions of years from now.
[Runtime: 0.35]
(X-ray (NASA/CXC/MIT/C.Canizares, M.Nowak); Optical (NASA/STScI))

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
3. Tour of PSR B1509-58
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only A small dense object is responsible for the remarkably complex and intriguing structures seen in this image from the Chandra X-ray Observatory. At the center of this image is a very young and powerful pulsar, known as PSR B1509-58. Pulsars are rapidly spinning neutron stars that are created when massive stars run out of fuel and collapse. This pulsar is spewing energy out into space and creates this beautiful X-ray nebula, including a structure that resembles a hand. Finger-like structures extend to the upper right, apparently transferring energy into knots of material in a neighboring cloud of gas and dust that is seen in other wavelengths. This makes these knots glow brightly in X-rays, which is why they appear red and orange in this Chandra image. Astronomers think that this pulsar is about 1700 years old and lies about 17,000 light years from Earth.
[Runtime: 0.59]
(NASA/CXC/SAO/P.Slane, et al.)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
4. Tour of Stephan's Quintet
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only This beautiful image gives a new look at Stephan's Quintet, a compact group of galaxies discovered about 130 years ago and located about 280 million light years from Earth. A view in optical light from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Mauna Kea clearly shows four individual galaxies. A fifth, harder-to-see galaxy is plunging its way through the system at almost two million miles per hour. This extreme motion generates a shock wave that heats the gas between the galaxies. This in turn causes the gas to glow strongly in X-rays, and that's detected by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Stephan's Quintet provides a rare opportunity for astronomers to observe a group of galaxies in a crucial stage of its evolution.
[Runtime: 0.50]
(X-ray (NASA/CXC/CfA/E.O'Sullivan); Optical (Canada-France-Hawaii-Telescope/Coelum))

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
5. Tour of the Crab Nebula
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only The Crab Nebula is one of the best-known images ever taken by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. In X-ray light we can see a nebula of material that is powered by a rapidly rotating, highly magnetized neutron star at the center of the image. This particular Chandra image of the Crab shows how far the neutron star's influence is, creating these fingers and loops of radiation that extend far away from the neutron star. Looking at the Crab in other wavelengths, such as optical light from Hubble, seen here in green, and Spitzer's infrared view in red, we see a much different picture. The size of the X-ray image is smaller than the others because X-ray-emitting electrons radiate away their energy faster than the lower-energy electrons that emit optical and infrared light. Only by comparing these different wavelengths can we begin to see the total picture of the Crab Nebula.
[Runtime: 0.54]
(NASA/CXC/SAO/F.Seward et al.)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
6. Tour of 3C321
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only In 3C321, a jet from a black hole in one of the galaxies is pummeling its neighbor galaxy, the first time this type of galactic violence has ever been seen. The jet could bring big trouble for any planets in its path, but could also trigger a burst of star formation in its wake. Beginning with a wide-field view of X-ray and radio emission, we see that the jets from the black hole extend amazingly far, about 1.7 million light-years. Next, we zoom into the two galaxies where most of the action is happening. Radio emission from the Very Large Array and Merlin telescopes, optical and ultraviolet data from Hubble, and X-rays from Chandra all reveal different features of this system. The combined image of all of these data shows how the jet from the galaxy on the lower left impacts the companion galaxy to the upper right. The jet hits the galaxy's edge and is then disrupted and deflected, much like how a stream of water from a hose will splay out after hitting a wall at an angle.
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(X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/D.Evans et al.; Optical/UV: NASA/STScI; Radio: NSF/VLA/CfA/D.Evans et al., STFC/JBO/MERLIN)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
7. Tour of Abell 1689
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only Abell 1689 is a massive cluster of galaxies located about 2.3 billion light-years away. An image obtained by the Chandra X-ray Observatory shows hot gas that fills the space between the galaxies. This gas is about 100 million degrees, and therefore glows brightly in X-rays. An image in optical light taken with the Hubble Space Telescope shows the individual galaxies not seen in the Chandra image. Some of the galaxies in the Hubble image that lie beyond the cluster appear as long arcs because their light has been distorted by the immense mass in the intervening galaxy cluster. Taken together, the data from Chandra and Hubble show that Abell 1689 is a galaxy cluster that is in the process of merging with another. Astronomers are studying Abell 1689 to learn more about the distribution of mass as well as the unseen dark matter that is thought to pervade the system.
[Runtime: 1:06]
(X-ray: NASA/CXC/MIT/E.-H Peng et al; Optical: NASA/STScI)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
8. Tour of Cat's Eye Nebula
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only This composite of data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope is another look for NGC 6543, better known as the Cat's Eye nebula. This famous object is a so-called planetary nebula that represents a phase of stellar evolution that the Sun should experience several billion years from now. When a star like the Sun begins to run out of fuel, it becomes what is known as a red giant. In this phase, a star sheds some of its outer layers. A fast wind streaming away from the hot core rams into the ejected atmosphere, pushing it outward, and creating the graceful filamentary structures seen with optical telescopes. In the case of the Cat's Eye, material shed by the star is flying away at a speed of about 4 million miles per hour. The hot core left behind will eventually collapse to form a dense white dwarf star.

Chandra's X-ray data of the Cat's Eye, which are seen as blue in this image, show that its central star is surrounded by a cloud of multi-million-degree gas. Structures in optical light by Hubble are colored red and purple. By comparing the two, astronomers determined that the chemical composition in the region around where the hot gas is found is like that of the wind from the central star, but it is different from the cooler outer material.
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(Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: NASA/STScI)

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9. Tour of Centaurus A
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only There is nothing subtle about the black hole in the galaxy Centaurus A. First off, itís about 10 million times more massive than the sun, and Chandraís X-ray image shows itís not just sitting quietly as a bright point in the middle. Instead, the monster black hole is responsible for powering massive jets, including one that extends to the upper left for some 13,000 light years. Radio data also show the effect of these jets far beyond the plane of the galaxy. An image in optical light shows the elliptical galaxy and the dark bands running almost perpendicular to the jet. These are caused by dust lanes created when Centaurus A merged with another galaxy, perhaps 100 million years ago. The combination from all of these telescopes shows us just how much is really going on in Centaurus A.
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(Credit: NASA/CXC/CfA/R.Kraft et al)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
10. Tour of G1.9+0.3
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only About a hundred and forty years ago, the light from a supernova explosion in our galaxy reached the Earth, but no one saw it. That's because, as this infrared version shows, the center of the Milky Way contains thick bands of gas and dust, making it impossible for astronomers to detect this explosion using optical telescopes. However, the debris field created by the supernova shines brightly in x-ray and radio wavelengths. A combination of data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory in space and the Very Large Array of radio dishes in New Mexico allowed astronomers to identify this object and nail down its age. The discovery of this supernova remnant helps astronomers better understand how often these stellar time-bombs go off in our galaxy.
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(Credit: X-ray (NASA/CXC/NCSU/S.Reynolds et al.); Radio (NSF/NRAO/VLA/Cambridge/D.Green et al.); Infrared (2MASS/UMass/IPAC-Caltech/NASA/NSF/CfA/E.Bressert))

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