The press and image releases from the Chandra X-ray Center cover only a small fraction of the science results produced by Chandra each year. Some results are clearly not good candidates for publicity because they're obviously incremental - I've written papers like that myself. Or they can be highly esoteric, addressing questions that only the authors knew enough about the subject to ask! It also doesn't help if the results are completely unsurprising or if there isn't a decent image.
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.
Shown from left: Chandra X-ray image of supernova remnant G292.0+1.8, Chandra X-ray image of young star cluster Westerlund 2, and a multiwavelength view of galaxy M82 (Chandra X-ray, Spitzer Infrared, Hubble Optical).
Last week, the American Astronomical Society held its bi-annual meeting in Austin, TX. (The AAS, as it's known, always has a winter meeting in early January and then a spring meeting around Memorial Day.) The AAS meetings are important because the AAS is the largest professional group of astronomers in the US and so they often bring some of their most exciting results to share.
Explore the Universe from your computer using Sky in Google Earth. The latest version of Sky in Google Earth, released on January 9, 2008, now contains X-ray images from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. Pictured: Cas A and M82. Learn more about Sky in Google Earth
The latest version of Sky in Google Earth, released on January 09, 2008 at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Austin, Texas, now contains X-ray images from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. Along with images from other NASA satellites, the addition of Chandra into Sky in Google Earth provides scientists, students, and amateur stargazers new opportunities to explore the Universe across the electromagnetic spectrum. Eli Bressert, Image Processor at the Chandra X-ray Center, discusses the Sky in Google Earth update.
Like the jelly beans in this jar, the Universe is mostly dark: 96 percent consists of dark energy (about 70%) and dark matter (about 26%). Only about four percent (the same proportion as the lightly colored jelly beans) of the Universe - including the stars, planets and us -is made of familiar atomic matter. Read about the make up of the Universe
A doctor's x-ray machine consists of two parts: an x-ray source at one end, and a camera at the other. The arm or mouth or other body part to be examined is placed in between these two parts. X-rays from the source shine through the impeding body part, and the camera records the x-rays that reach the photographic film inside. Bone is denser than muscle tissue and skin, so it stops more of the x-rays (and hence fewer x-rays make it to the region of the film that's behind the bone).
Dr. Patrick Slane from the Chandra X-ray Center presented an overview of the Chandra X-ray Observatory to NASA's museum alliance. This part of the conversation talks about how X-ray Astronomy connects to medical X-rays and what people experience with X-rays from the doctor.
Everybody is familiar with going to the doctor and having a big X-ray machine kind of point at you and having a film put somewhere and then getting a picture. And at many times, Iâ€™ve been asked the question, is it dangerous to shine all those X-rays out in the space from Chandra.
Dr. David Pooley is an astrophysicist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Before landing at the home of the Badgers, Dave was at the University of California at Berkeley after getting his Ph.D. from MIT. He shares his thoughts on what's interesting in the Universe in this installment of the Chandra blog.
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