Chandra: Promises Made and Kept

A promise made is a debt unpaid. Robert Service
Chance favors the prepared mind. Louis Pasteur

Not long ago a request came down from above for a list of Chandra’s achievements that have “completely transformed the way we have viewed our world, solar system, sun, or universe."

In other words, how many discoveries of the century have you made this year?

2011 Einstein Fellows Announced

This week, NASA announced the selection of three prestigious fellowships, each named after a distinguished scientist: Einstein, Hubble, and Sagan. Every year, NASA awards these fellowships to recent Ph.D.s in astronomy, physics or a related field. The Chandra X-ray Center oversees the Einstein Fellowships, which cover the topics in high-energy astrophysics. The Space Telescope Science Institute runs the Hubble Fellowships, and JPL is in charge of the Sagan ones.

Sound in Space

People seem to be fascinated with the concept of sound in space. This was just underscored for us when we saw this great TED talk by physicist Janna Levin.

We have some personal experience with the public’s interest in the topic. Way back in 2003, we did a story on the black hole at the center of the Perseus Cluster. The energy generated by the giant black hole was responsible for sound waves propagating through the intercluster gas. (If you're curious, the black hole was bleating out a B flat some 52 octaves below middle C.)

You Can Call Me Al

OK, you probably couldn’t with Albert Einstein (who most likely wouldn't have appreciated the Paul Simon reference.) If Einstein had lived, he would have been celebrating his 132nd birthday today. Alas, he sadly died back in 1955, but, as we all know, he managed to squeeze in quite a bit during those years.

IWD 2011 on the Chandra Blog

March 8th is International Women's Day (, an effort to mark the economic, political, and social achievement of women. From here at the Chandra blog, we'd like to extend that concept to include scientific achievements as well by highlighting our "Women in the High-Energy Universe" ( series.

Math + Science = Fun

When I was a kid, my class was given ‘word problems’ for an alternative math lesson. You probably know the kind: two different trains traveling at different speeds, which one gets there first, etc. While these were possibly a little out of the norm, they didn’t quite excite the inner astronomer in me. Now, the folks at "Space Math @ NASA" have put together a comprehensive set of math activities for astrophiles of any age (or at least grades 3 and up).

"Hidden Treasures" Found

Every so often, our talented team gets to play with other colors in the crayon box -- that is, wavelengths outside the regime that Chandra observes. We do this for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that something great usually happens.

NGC 3621

Somber 25th Anniversary

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the loss of the Challenger Space Shuttle. For many of us, it was an unforgettable moment when we heard the news. It might have been the first time that many of us of a certain generation realized that flying into space wasn’t easy, nor was it always safe.

STS-93 Launch
Space Shuttle Columbia rockets into the night sky on mission STS-93


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