An artist's interpretation of NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory, which launched in 1999 and has received an extended mission through at least 2013. The space telescope has captured amazing views of the universe in X-ray vision. Here's a taste of Chandra's cosmic views.
In the new Chandra image of Cassiopeia A, gas billowing out from the supernova remnant is superheated, causing it to glow in X-rays. A reddish-colored jet of superfast matter can be seen shooting out of the upper left. A second jet, not notable in this image, was ferreted out in other data collected during the same observations.
X-ray auroras observed by the Chandra X-ray Observatory overlaid on a simultaneous optical image from the Hubble Space Telescope.
The most crowded collision of galaxy clusters has been identified by combining information from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope and the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. The system MACSJ0717.5+3745 (or MACSJ0717 for short) is located about 5.4 billion light years from Earth.
This annotated image from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory shows N49, the aftermath of a supernova in the Large Magellanic Cloud, and a bullet-like object ejected from the huge star explosion. Full Story.
This image comes from a very deep Chandra observation of the Tycho supernova remnant. Low-energy X-rays (red) in the image show expanding debris from the supernova explosion and high energy X-rays (blue) show the blast wave, a shell of extremely energetic electrons. These high-energy X-rays show a pattern of X-ray "stripes" never previously seen in a supernova remant.
The remnant known as G1.9+0.3 (shown here) came from the most recent supernova in our galaxy. To determine the age of the stellar explosion, astronomers tracked how quickly the remnant was expanding, by comparing a radio image from 1985 (blue) to an X-ray image taken in 2007 (orange).
In this composite image of spiral galaxy M106, optical data is shown as yellow, radio data from the Very Large Array appears as purple, X-ray data from Chandra is coded blue and infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope appears red. The anomalous arms appear as purple and blue emission.
This composite image of X-ray and optical data shows the remnant of supernova 1E 0102.2-7219, about 190,000 light-years away in the Small Magellanic Cloud.
This image of the two galaxies that form Arp 147 shows a vast cosmic ring of stars (blue) and black holes (pink) as seen by the Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope. Another galaxy is also visible (vertical at left), as well as a bright star and quasar (pink object at upper left). This image was released on Feb. 9, 2011.
Hot gas detected by Chandra in X-rays is seen as two pink clumps that contain most of the normal matter in the two clusters. The bullet-shaped clump on the right is hot gas from one cluster, which passed through the hot gas from the other larger cluster. Other telescopes were used to detect the bulk of the matter in the clusters, which turns out to be dark matter (highlighted in blue).
This Chandra image of M87 shows high energy X-rays. The faint, outer ring is about 85,000 light years across and gives an unambiguous signature of a weak shock wave (like a sonic boom) generated by an outburst from the supermassive black hole at the center of M87. The properties of the shock, including the change in temperature and density in the gas, are consistent with classical physics. The bright yellow, inner ring may be the gas just outside the "piston" that is powering the shock further out, and the ring in the middle was probably produced by another outburst.
EM L238 and DEM L249 are two supernova remnants in the Large Magellanic Cloud. X-ray data from NASA's Chandra and ESA's XMM-Newton observatories suggest that the stars responsible for these debris fields were unusually young when they were destroyed by thermonuclear explosions.
A Chandra X-ray Observatory close-up on HD 5980 - the star (in yellow) is surrounded by the remnants of a supernova explosion (in red). Credits: NASA/CXC/ Nazé et al.
The slow-spinning X-ray pulsar SXP 1062 shines brightly from within the shell of gas and dust rushing away from the supernova that formed it.
An X-ray image of the galactic cluster 3C438, with inset showing a powerful radio galaxy.
This artist's illustration depicts the jet of relativistic particles blasting out of Circinus X-1, with a Chandra image (inset) of the jets. Illustration
A view of the Puppis A supernova remnant with a close-up image of the fast-moving neutron star RX J0822-4300. X-ray data (pink) and optical data (purple) highlights oxygen emission.
A powerful jet from a supermassive black hole is blasting a nearby galaxy in the system known as 3C321, according to new results from NASA. This galactic violence, never seen before, could have a profound effect on any planets in the path of the jet and trigger a burst of star formation in the wake of its destruction.
The Large Magellanic Cloud, which harbors the remnants of supernova 0509-67.5. Light echoes from an ancient explosion have been spotted bouncing off of nearby dust clouds.
Another powerful collision of galaxy clusters has been captured with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope. Like its famous cousin, the so-called Bullet Cluster, this clash of clusters shows a clear separation between dark and ordinary matter. This helps answer a crucial question about whether dark matter interacts with itself in ways other than via gravitational forces.
This optical and infrared image from the Digitized Sky Survey shows the crowded field around the micro-quasar GRS 1915+105 (GRS 1915 for short) located near the plane of our Galaxy. The inset shows a close-up of the Chandra image of GRS 1915, one of the brightest X-ray sources in the Milky Way galaxy.
The diffuse blue object near the center of this composite image is believed to be a cosmic "ghost," called HDF 130, generated by a huge eruption from a supermassive black hole in a distant galaxy.
This record-breaking object, known as JKCS041, is observed as it was when the Universe was just one quarter of its current age. This image contains X-rays from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, optical data from the Very Large Telescope (VLT) and optical and infrared data from the Digitized Sky Survey.
A Chandra X-ray Observatory image of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A, with an artist's impression of the neutron star at the center of the remnant. The discovery of a carbon atmosphere on this neutron star resolves a ten-year old mystery surrounding this object.
In this spectacular image, observations using infrared light and X-ray light see through the obscuring dust and reveal the intense activity near the galactic core of the Milky Way. The image combines pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory.
This Chandra X-Ray Observatory image of the Milky Way's central black hole Sagittarius A* and the surrounding region is based on data from a series of observations lasting a total of about one million seconds, or almost two weeks, in May 2009 and Sept. 1999. It was released Jan. 5, 2009 and helps researchers understand why the black hole eats less material than expected.
A new image from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and Spitzer Space Telescope shows the dusty remains of a collapsed star. The composite image of G54.1+0.3 shows X-rays from Chandra in blue, and data from Spitzer in green (shorter wavelength infrared) and red-yellow (longer wavelength infrared). Scientists think that a pulsar (the white source in the center) is sending off a wind that is heating up remnant supernova dust.
This composite image of the galaxy cluster Abell 3376 shows X-ray data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the ROSAT telescope in gold, an optical image from the Digitized Sky Survey in red, green and blue, and a radio image from the VLA in blue.
This composite image of the nearby galaxy M82 shows Chandra X-ray Observatory data in blue, optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope in green and orange, and infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope in red. The pullout is a Chandra image that shows the central region of the galaxy that contains two bright X-ray sources thought to be mid-sized black holes.
Scientists have used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA's XMM- Newton to detect a vast reservoir of gas lying along a wall-shaped structure of galaxies about 400 million light years from Earth. In this artist's impression, a close-up view of the so-called Sculptor Wall is depicted. This discovery is the strongest evidence yet that the "missing matter" in the nearby Universe is located in an enormous web of hot, diffuse gas.
This image presents a composite of X-rays from Chandra (red, green, and blue) and optical data from Hubble (gold) of Cassiopeia A, the remains of a massive star that exploded in a supernova. Inset: A cutout of the interior of the neutron star, where densities increase from the crust (orange) to the core (red) and finally to the region where the "superfluid" exists (inner red ball).
The supermassive black hole at the center of the spiral galaxy NGC 4151 has created a structure that astronomers call the "Eye of Sauron," after the evil wizard in J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" novels. This image is a composite of images taken by several different telescopes.
This Chandra image shows the higher energy X-rays detected from the Tycho supernova remnant. These X-rays show the expanding blast wave from the supernova, a shell of extremely energetic electrons. Close-ups of two different regions are shown, region A containing the brightest stripes of tangled magnetic fields and region B with fainter stripes.
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory completed this four-hour exposure of GRB 110328A on April 4. The center of the X-ray source corresponds to the very center of the host galaxy imaged by Hubble (red cross).
GRB 110328A has repeatedly flared in the days following its discovery by Swift. This plot shows the brightness changes recorded by Swift's X-ray Telescope.
Viewed in visible light, Markarian 739 resembles a smiling face. It actually is a pair of merging galaxies which lies 425 million light-years away.
Composite image of the galaxy cluster Abell 2744, also known as Pandora's Cluster, taken by the Hubble and Chandra space telescopes and the Very Large Telescope in Chile. Hot intracluster gas is shown in pink, and the blue overlay maps the location of dark matter.
This pulsar, known as PSR J0357+3205 (or PSR J0357 for short), apparently has a long, bright X-ray tail streaming away from it.
Image (left) of the nearby star CoRot-2a. The star is pummeling a close-orbiting planet with a barrage of X-rays 100,000 times more intense than Earth receives from the sun, as the artist's concept (right) shows.
A composite image shows El Gordo in X-ray light from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory in blue, along with optical data from the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in red, green, and blue, and infrared emission from the NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope in red and orange. Image released Jan. 10, 2012.
This image from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory shows the center of our galaxy, which hosts a supermassive black hole known as Sagittarius A* (Sgr A* for short). Chandra has detected X-ray flares about once a day from Sgr A*; they may result from the black hole gobbling up asteroids, as the artist's concept on the right depicts.
A "before" artist's illustration (left) and observations from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory (right) show how an explosion turned the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A inside out.
System CID-42, located about four billion light-years away from Earth, harbors a supermassive black hole that is apparently being booted out of its home galaxy.
The highly distorted supernova remnant W49B in this image may contain the youngest black hole in the Milky Way galaxy. The image combines X-rays from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory in blue and green, radio data from the NSF's Very Large Array in pink, and infrared data from Caltech's Palomar Observatory in yellow. Image released Feb. 13, 2013.
This composite image shows the most distant X-ray jet ever observed. X-ray data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory are shown in blue, radio data from the NSF's Very Large Array are shown in purple and optical data from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope are shown in yellow.
This image is of planetary nebula NGC 7662 as seen with the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. A planetary nebula is a phase of stellar evolution that the sun should experience several billion years from now, when it expands to become a red giant and then sheds most of its outer layers, leaving behind a hot core that contracts to form a dense white dwarf star. This image was released Oct. 10, 2012.
This image is NGC 6543 known as the Cat's Eye Nebula as it appears to the Chandra X-Ray Observatory and Hubble Telescope. A planetary nebula is a phase of stellar evolution that the sun should experience several billion years from now, when it expands to become a red giant and then sheds most of its outer layers, leaving behind a hot core that contracts to form a dense white dwarf star. This image was released Oct. 10, 2012.
This gallery shows four planetary nebulas from the first systematic survey of such objects in the solar neighborhood made with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. The planetary nebulas shown here are NGC 6543, also known as the Cat's Eye, NGC 7662, NGC 7009 and NGC 6826. This image was released Oct. 10, 2012.
This gallery shows four planetary nebulas from the first systematic survey of such objects in the solar neighborhood made with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. The planetary nebulas included here are NGC 6543 (aka the Cat's Eye), NGC 7662, NGC 7009 and NGC 6826. Optical emission from the Hubble Space Telescope is colored red, green and blue. This image was released Oct. 10, 2012.
This gallery shows four planetary nebulas from the first systematic survey of such objects in the solar neighborhood made with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. The planetary nebulas included here are NGC 6543 (aka the Cat's Eye), NGC 7662, NGC 7009 and NGC 6826. X-ray emission from Chandra is colored purple and optical emission. This image was released Oct. 10, 2012.
This image, which combines data from the Hubble Space Telescope (visible light), Spitzer Space Telescope (infrared) and Chandra X-ray Observatory (X-rays) shows the Crab Pulsar. The X-ray emissions (in blue) show the location of high-energy phenomena around the rapidly spinning star. The visible and infrared light (shown in red) traces the location of debris thrown out by the supernova that destroyed the Crab Pulsar's progenitor star.
This superbubble in the N44 nebula inside the Large Magellanic Cloud was carved out by exploding stars. The photo, released in August 2012, comes from the Chandra X-ray Space Telescope, combined with data collected by observatories covering other wavelengths.
X-ray image of the vicinity of pulsar J1740+1000 obtained by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. The image is color-coded so that harder X-ray emission looks bluer and softer X-ray emission appears redder. The angular distance of 4 arcminutes (shown) corresponds to 5.3 light-years.
This new Chandra image of M83 is one of the deepest X-ray observations ever made of a spiral galaxy beyond our own. This full-field view of the spiral galaxy shows the low, medium, and high-energy X-rays observed by Chandra in red, green, and blue respectively. Image released July 30, 2012.
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has discovered an extraordinary outburst by a black hole in the spiral galaxy M83, located about 15 million light years from Earth.
Chandra's X-ray Observatory reveals x-ray images in the Eagle Nebula, although few are visible within the Pillars of Creation
At left is an optical view of M83. At right is a composite image showing X-ray data from Chandra in pink and optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope in blue and yellow. The ULX is located near the bottom of the composite image.
While studying the globelike supernova remnant, astronomers discovered a new pulsar, PSR J1841-0500. After shining for at least a year, the pulsar, located inside the white circle, abruptly disappeared. The left image was provided by the Multi-Array Galactic Plane Imaging Survey, the right by CHANDRA.
Data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA's XMM-Newton were combined to find this young pulsar, r, known as SXP 1062, in the remains of a supernova located in the Small Magellanic Cloud 180,000 light-years from Earth. The image was released on Dec. 20, 2011.