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Special Features: Interactive Collections

Interactive pieces presenting Chandra images in unique ways. The following features are grouped by topic, such as comparisons with art images, science category, and by date.

Science and Art

Coloring Space
1. Coloring Space Flash
This piece is intended to provoke thought about how the two realms of color - in art and in space - intersect and diverge. It explores the similarities of how these different types of images are made, as well as discusses the ways in which they differ. We invite you to explore these images and what they represent both on their own and when presented as a comparison (or contrast?) to another in a separate field.
Sight Lines
2. Sight Lines
This online exhibition explores the research processes used by art conservators and astrophysicists, featuring X-ray images of the cosmos from NASA's orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory and X-ray images of modern paintings from the Harvard Art Museum.
The Universe
3. From the Earth to the Heavens  Flash
There are patterns of beauty across Earth and throughout the Universe. This activity invites you to compare aerial photographs of our planet taken by Yann Arthus-Bertrand to X-ray images of the cosmos taken by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. We hope these pairings provide an intriguing new way to view the striking visual patterns made by these very different objects.

Astronomy in Context

The Periodic Tables
4. The Periodic Tables   Flash  |  PDF
Interact with this graphic representation of the "astronomers" version of the periodic table of elements. What leaps out of the astronomers' table is that the simplest elements, hydrogen and helium, are by far the most abundant.

Telescopes & Light
5. Telescopes & Light  Flash
Astronomers have built telescopes and detectors that can see far beyond the type of radiation we can detect with the human eye. Ranging from long radio and infrared waves to shorter wavelengths of ultraviolet, X-rays, and gamma rays that reveal the hottest parts of the Universe, modern astronomy is really one of telescopic diversity.

Xray 101
6. Constellations: Wonders Within
Four hundred years ago, Galileo turned his telescope to the sky and forever changed how humanity views its place in the cosmos. Since then, astronomers have been building telescopes both in space and on the ground -- to help further our understanding of the Universe. This series of posters represents some of the most dramatic images made by combining data from the best of modern telescopes.

The Universe
7. The Universe in a Jelly Bean Jar  Flash  |   PDF
Most of the Universe is dark. The protons, neutrons and electrons that make up the stars, planets and us represent only a small fraction of the mass and energy of the Universe. The rest is dark and mysterious. How can X-rays help reveal the secrets of this darkness?
See also: The Universe Darkly and The Universe.

The Chandra Mission

The Unexpected
8. The Unexpected  Html  |   PDF
Looking back on the accomplishments of NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory over the past dozen years, and trying to predict what it will find in the future, one thing is certain: we can expect the unexpected. This piece describes some of the expectations for the Chandra mission along with some of the unexpected discoveries.
Top Ten
9. Chandra's Top Ten Scientific Discoveries  Flash  |   PDF
Here we list some of Chandra's most significant discoveries. These and other successes are prologues to what can be achieved by Chandra in the future. While expanding the realm of the known, Chandra is also raising new questions and pointing the way for future exploration of the high-energy Universe.
Xray 101
10. X-ray Images 101
How are Chandra images made? What do the colors mean? Find out the answers to these questions and more in X-ray Images 101.

11.Chandra X-Ray Observatory: Behind the X-rays    Flash   |   html
An interactive exploration of Chandra's hardware, including a look at the telescope system, science instruments and spacecraft system. (requires flash)

12. Major Milestones in X-ray Astronomy    Flash   |   html
Chandra is part of a long history of X-ray astronomy, streching back to the early 1960s. (requires flash)

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Chandra By Science Topic

Galactic Center
13. The Galactic Center  Flash
A panoramic X-ray view, covering a 900 by 400 light year swath, shows that the center of the Galaxy is a teeming and tumultuous place.
14. Locating Historic Supernovas in the Milky Way  Flash  |  html
In this feature, explore the approximate positions and names (shown in orange) of historical supernovas in the Milky Way. These are stellar explosions that are thought to have occurred in the last 2,000 years and may have been seen by early astronomers.

15. The Truth and Lies about Black Holes  Flash  |  html
Black holes have a bad reputation. After all, something that could swallow you completely sounds pretty scary. They're invisible, so maybe there's one just around the corner and we dont know it! Also, arent they enormous vacuum cleaners capable of destroying anything that gets near them? Once the black hole starts pulling on something, isnt that just a one-way ticket to oblivion? Well, not all of these things are exactly true. (requires flash)
See also: Video Podcast

16. Blasts From The Past: Historic Supernovas  Flash  |   PDF   |  html
Every 50 years or so, a star in our Galaxy blows itself apart in a supernova explosion, one of the most violent events in the Universe. The force of these explosions produces spectacular light shows. Explosions in past millennia have been bright enough to catch the attention of early astronomers hundreds of years before the telescope had been invented. (requires flash)
See also: Historic Supernovas article

17. Interactive Guide to Stellar Evolution  Flash  |   PDF   |  html
This interactive guide illustrates the ongoing drama of stellar evolution, and how the rate of evolution and the ultimate fate of a star depends on its mass. (requires flash)
See also: Stellar Evolution Field Guide

18. The Solar System Through Chandra's Eyes    Flash   |   PDF   |  html
Chandra's specialty is probing the super-hot regions around exploding stars, galaxies, or black holes. But Chandra has also shown that the relatively peaceful realms of space, such as our Solar System, sometimes shine in X-ray light. (requires flash)
See also: Solar System Field Guide

19. Exploring Black Holes with Chandra    Flash   |   PDF   |  html
With its unique properties, Chandra is peerless as a black hole probe - both near and far. Not even Chandra can "see" into black holes, but it can tackle many of their other mysteries. (requires flash)
See also: Black Hole Field Guide

20.Supernova Remnants with Chandra  (305 Kb requires flash)  |  html
The Chandra X-ray Observatory has provided spectacular examples of the remnants of one of the most dramatic events in the cosmos: supernovas that signal the end of massive stars.

21. Chandra's Gallery of Galaxies  Flash
This interactive feature probes the characteristics of the galaxies Chandra has observed. (requires flash)

22. Virtual Tour of the Milky Way    Flash  |  html
Take a conceptual galactic tour from Chandra's orbit around the Earth to the outskirts of our galaxy and back again. (requires flash)
Plain text description also available.
See also: Milky Way Field Guide

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Chandra Image Collections by Date

23. Image of the Year: 1999 to 2006
We asked you which images you enjoyed the most for each year since Chandra launched in 1999. Here are the results.

24. Highlights from Chandra   Flash
Discover the unique beauty of Chandra's latest images. (requires flash, 1200 x 800 pixels)

25. Chandra Slideshow Movie
Quickly navigate to the latest and greatest images from Chandra. Especially helpful for anyone who has trouble remembering the names of obscure images.

26. Chandra Puzzle: Top 9 Chandra Images (August 2003-2004)    Flash
Explore some of the most stunning Chandra images from the past year. Click on a puzzle piece to explore that image. (requires flash)

27. Chandra Image Features: Chandra's "X-ray Eyes"    Flash
Witness the Universe through the "X-ray eyes" of NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. Scroll through 20 of Chandra's most spectacular images in this flash piece. (requires flash)

28. Top Ten for Chandra's Fourth    Flash   |   html
Among its array of revelations in 2002-2003, news about black holes pulled in most of the headlines with four of the top five stories from Chandra during its fourth year in operation.

29. Chandra's Top 10 of 2001    Flash
Now in its third year of observation, Chandra has observed not only strange stars, but black holes, galaxies, and other cosmic phenomena. Taking a look back, here are some of the highlights of the past year with Chandra.

30. Chandra's 2nd Anniversary    Flash   |   html
For the 2nd anniversary of Chandra's launch and First Light, we bring you a look back at some of the spectacular observations that Chandra has taken.

Note: Some of these interactive pieces require the Macromedia Flash Player. Please visit to download the free Flash Player.
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