Images by Date
Images by Category
Solar System
Stars
White Dwarfs
Supernovas
Neutron Stars
Black Holes
Milky Way Galaxy
Normal Galaxies
Quasars
Galaxy Clusters
Cosmology/Deep Field
Miscellaneous
Images by Interest
Space Scoop for Kids
4K JPG
Multiwavelength
Sky Map
Constellations
3D Wall
Photo Blog
Top Rated Images
Image Handouts
Desktops
High Res Prints
Fits Files
Image Tutorials
Photo Album Tutorial
False Color
Cosmic Distance
Look-Back Time
Scale & Distance
Angular Measurement
Images & Processing
AVM/Metadata
Getting Hard Copies
Image Use Policy
Web Shortcuts
Chandra Blog
RSS Feed
Chronicle
Email Newsletter
News & Noteworthy
Image Use Policy
Questions & Answers
Glossary of Terms
Download Guide
Get Adobe Reader
Animations: NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary
A Tour of NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary
(Credit: NASA/CXC/A. Hobart)
[Runtime: 02:46]

With closed-captions (at YouTube)

On July 23, 1999, the Space Shuttle Columbia blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center carrying the Chandra X-ray Observatory. In the two decades that have passed, Chandra's powerful and unique X-ray eyes have contributed to a revolution in our understanding of the cosmos.

To commemorate Chandra's 20th anniversary of science operations, a collection of new images representing the breadth of Chandra's exploration was released. These images demonstrate the variety of objects Chandra studies as well as how X-rays complement the data collected in other types of light.

Chandra is one of NASA's "Great Observatories" along with the Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope, and Compton Gamma Ray Observatory. It has the sharpest vision of any X-ray telescope ever built. Chandra is often used in conjunction with telescopes like Hubble and Spitzer that observe in different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, and with other high-energy missions like XMM-Newton and NASA's NuSTAR.

Chandra's discoveries have impacted virtually every aspect of astrophysics. For example, Chandra was involved in a direct proof of dark matter's existence. It has witnessed powerful eruptions from supermassive black holes. Astronomers have also used Chandra to map how the elements essential to life are spread from supernova explosions.

Many of the phenomena Chandra now investigates were not even known when the telescope was being developed and built after first being proposed to NASA in 1976. For example, astronomers now use Chandra to study the effects of dark energy, test the impact of stellar radiation on exoplanets, and observe the outcomes of gravitational wave events.

The Chandra X-ray Observatory was named in honor of the late Nobel laureate Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center manages the Chandra program. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's Chandra X-ray Center controls science and flight operations from Cambridge, Mass. In 2018, NASA awarded a contract extension to continue operation and science support of Chandra through 2024, with the possibility of two three-year options.


A Quick Look at NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary
(Credit: NASA/CXC/A. Hobart)
[Runtime: 1:08]

On July 23, 1999, the Space Shuttle Columbia blasted into space carrying the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Twenty years later, a collection of new images has been released to commemorate this milestone.

Chandra observes the cosmos with the sharpest vision of any X-ray telescope.

These images represent Chandra's abilities to observe everything from nearby exploded stars to distant galaxy clusters.

Chandra was originally proposed to NASA in 1976. It took decades of collaboration to make this revolutionary X-ray telescope a reality.

Many of the phenomena Chandra now investigates were not even known when the telescope was being developed and built.

Chandra is one of NASA's "Great Observatories" along with the Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope, and Compton Gamma Ray Observatory.


First Light: Celebrating 20 Years of Chandra Observatory
(Credit: Steer Films & NASA/CXC/SAO)
[Runtime: 20:24]

With closed-captions (at YouTube)

Discover how an X-ray telescope has revolutionized astronomy and our understanding of the Universe. A scientific and engineering marvel, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has spent two decades (so far) exploring the cosmos unlike any other telescope. What it has found will astound you.

On July 23, 1999, the Space Shuttle Columbia launched into space carrying the heaviest payload ever flown. In its cargo bay was the Chandra X-ray Observatory, a first-of-its-kind telescope that would open a new window into exploring the Universe.

Unlike the Hubble Space Telescope, its older cousin, Chandra detects X-rays from space instead of the kind of light that humans can see. Only a handful of decades before, scientists didn't know objects in space gave off X-rays. Because the Earth's atmosphere absorbs this high-energy light, people had to wait until the dawn of the Space Age to realize that space is aglow in light that invisible to our eyes. Once known, a different kind of space race emerged.

The Chandra X-ray Observatory is the culmination of decades of collaboration between scientists and engineers, private and public institutions, the United States and those around the world. Two decades after its launch, Chandra remains the most powerful X-ray telescope and continues to reveal secrets about black holes, exploded stars, and the nature of the Universe itself. See for yourself what wonders Chandra has to behold.

Featuring: Belinda Wilkes, Daniel Castro, Sabina Hurley, Grant Tremblay and Kimberly Arcand. Special thanks to Carlos Toro (Steer Films) and team; with science input from Kimberly Arcand, Peter Edmonds & Megan Watzke (Chandra X-ray Center).




Return to NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary (July 23, 2019)