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Cosmic Heavyweights in Free-For-All: One of the most complex galaxy clusters, located about 5.4 billion light years from Earth.

Creator:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Medium:
Chandra telescope x-ray
Type:
Photographs
Date:
2009
Credit:
X-ray (NASA/CXC/IfA/C. Ma et al.); Optical (NASA/STScI/IfA/C. Ma et al.)
Image ID:
MACSJ0717
Description:
This composite image shows the massive galaxy cluster MACSJ0717.5+3745 (MACSJ0717, for short) where four separate galaxy clusters have been involved in a collision --the first time such a phenomenon has been documented. In this composite image, data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory reveal the cluster's hot gas, while an optical image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows the individual galaxies in the system. The hot gas in this image is color-coded to show temperature, where the coolest gas is reddish purple, the hottest gas is blue, and the temperatures in between are purple.
Data Source:
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Division:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
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A Black Hole in Medusa's Hair: A galaxy lies about 110 million light years away.

Creator:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Medium:
Chandra telescope x-ray
Type:
Photographs
Date:
2009
Credit:
X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ of Iowa/P.Kaaret et al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI/Univ of Iowa/P.Kaaret et al.
Image ID:
medusa
Description:
This image of NGC 4194 is a composite of X-rays from Chandra (blue) and optical light data from Hubble (orange). Located above the center of the galaxy, the "hair" of the Medusa is a tidal tail formed by a collision between galaxies. The bright X-ray source found on the left side of Medusa's hair is a black hole. A recent study of the Medusa galaxy and nine other galaxies measured the correlation between the formation of stars and the production of X-ray binaries. These X-ray binaries appear as the bright blue point-like sources in this image of Medusa.
Data Source:
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Division:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
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Wall Divides East and West Sides of Cosmic Metropolis: The largest region of star formation in the nearby galaxy M33.

Creator:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Medium:
Chandra telescope x-ray
Type:
Photographs
Date:
2009
Credit:
X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/R. Tullmann et al.; Optical: NASA/AURA/STScI
Image ID:
n604
Description:
This composite image from Chandra X-ray data (colored blue) and optical light data from the Hubble (red, green and yellow) shows a divided neighborhood where some 200 hot, young, massive stars reside. Bubbles in the cooler gas and dust have been generated by powerful stellar winds, which are then filled with hot, X-ray emitting gas. Scientists find the amount of hot gas detected in the bubbles on the right side corresponds to the amount entirely powered by winds from the 200 hot massive stars. The situation is different on the left side where the amount of X-ray gas cannot explain the brightness of the X-ray emission. The bubbles on this left side appear to be much older and were likely created and powered by young stars and supernovas in the past.
Data Source:
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Division:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Visitor Tag(s):

Crab Nebula

Creator:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Medium:
Chandra telescope x-ray
Type:
Photographs
Date:
1999
Credit:
NASA/CXC/SAO
Image ID:
0052_xray_lg
Description:
This image of the Crab Nebula, the remnant of a stellar explosion that was seen from Earth almost 950 years ago, was taken by the Chandra x-ray telescope from its elliptical orbit approximately 85,000 miles above the Earth. Its large orbit takes sixty-four hours to complete and allows Chandra to collect data for fifty-five consecutive hours. The powerful x-ray telescope enables scientists around the world to see and study what is truly invisible to the naked eye and even to the most powerful optical telescopes. This x-ray image, which shows a bright ring and jets emanating from the neutron star at the center of the Crab Nebula, has revealed much about the object?s structure.
Data Source:
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
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Venus in a New Light (The second planet closest to the Sun in our solar system.)

Creator:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Medium:
Chandra telescope x-ray
Type:
Photographs
Date:
2001
Credit:
NASA/MPE/K.Dennerl et al.
Image ID:
Venus_xray
Description:
Chandra's unique capabilities provided astronomers with their first look at Venus in X-ray light. The image shows a half crescent due to the relative orientation of the Sun, Earth and Venus. The X-rays from Venus are produced by fluorescent radiation from oxygen and other atoms in the atmosphere between 120 and 140 kilometers above the surface of the planet. In contrast, the light we see from Venus in the night sky is caused by the reflection of sunlight from clouds 50 to 70 kilometers above the surface. X-ray images of Venus will enable scientists to explore regions of the Venusian atmosphere that are difficult to investigate otherwise.
Data Source:
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Division:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Collection:
Solar System Collection
Visitor Tag(s):

Saturn?s Rings Sparkle with X-rays

Creator:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Medium:
Chandra telescope x-ray
Type:
Photographs
Date:
2003
Credit:
NASA/CXC/SAO
Image ID:
Saturn_rngs_xray_opt_1
Description:
This image, taken by the Chandra x-ray telescope, reveals that the rings of Saturn sparkle; in this x-ray/optical composite, they are visible as blue dots. This radiation?s source is likely fluorescence caused by solar x-rays as they strike oxygen atoms in the water molecules of the planet?s icy rings. As the image shows, most of the ring?s x-rays originate in the B ring?the bright white inner ring visible in this optical image?which is approximately 25,000 kilometers wide and 40,000 kilometers above the planet?s surface. X-rays may also be concentrated on Saturn?s left side, possibly because of their association with shadows in the planet?s rings that are known as spokes, or possibly as a result of the additional solar fluorescence caused by the transient ice clouds that produce spokes. Other Chandra observations of Saturn show that the x-ray brightness of the rings varies significantly from one week to the next.
Data Source:
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Division:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Collection:
Solar System Collection
Visitor Tag(s):

Quintuplet Cluster: Colliding High-Speed Winds Light Up the Quintuplet Cluster

Creator:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Medium:
Chandra telescope x-ray
Type:
Photographs
Date:
2000
Credit:
NASA/CXC/SAO
Image ID:
Quint_xray
Description:
With this image, taken by the Chandra x-ray telescope, scientists were able to detect x-rays from stars in the Quintuplet Cluster, an extremely dense cluster of young stars near the Galactic Center. Because dust blocks visible light from this central region of the Milky Way, the cluster was not discovered until 1990, when it was detected with an infrared telescope. Named for its five brightest stars at infrared wavelengths, the Quintuplet is home to hundreds of stars, several of which are extremely massive and rapidly losing gas from their surfaces in high-speed stellar winds. The bright, point-like concentrations of gas visible here, which can be as hot as fifty million degrees Celsius, may be caused by collisions between the high-speed winds in massive stars with closely orbiting partners. Colliding stellar winds could also explain the diffuse x-radiation seen between the stars in the Quintuplet Cluster.
Data Source:
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Division:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Visitor Tag(s):

M17: ?X-ray Champagne Flow? Uncorked in Horseshoe Nebula (A young star cluster 5,000 light years from Earth in the constellation Sagittarius.)

Creator:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Medium:
Chandra telescope x-ray
Type:
Photographs
Date:
2002
Credit:
NASA/CXC/SAO
Image ID:
M17_xray
Description:
Chandra's image shows hot gas flowing away from massive stars clustered in the center of the Horseshoe Nebula (pink) that are only about a million years old. This gas shows up as the red regions, which have temperatures ranging from about 1.5 million degrees Celsius (2.7 million degrees Fahrenheit) to about 7 million degrees Celsius (13 million degrees F). Collisions between high-speed winds of particles flowing away from the massive stars could heat the gas, or the hot gas could be produced as these winds collide with cool clouds to form bubbles of hot gas. This hot gas appears to be flowing out of the Horseshoe like champagne flows out of a bottle when the cork is removed, so it has been termed an "X-ray champagne flow."
Data Source:
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Visitor Tag(s):

Eta Carinae: Shocking Detail of Superstar's Activity Revealed

Creator:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Medium:
Chandra telescope x-ray
Type:
Photographs
Date:
1999
Credit:
NASA/CXC/SAO
Image ID:
0099_xray(EtaCarinae)
Description:
Eta Carinae is the most luminous star known in our galaxy, radiating energy at a rate five million times greater than that of the Sun. Observations indicate that Eta Carinae is unstable and that matter is rapidly boiling off of its surface. Although some astronomers believe it could explode as a supernova at any time, because the star is seven thousand light years away, the explosion would pose no threat to Earth.
Data Source:
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Division:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Visitor Tag(s):

Eta Carinae

Creator:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Medium:
Chandra telescope x-ray
Type:
Photographs
Date:
1999
Credit:
NASA/HST/J. Morse/K. Davidson
Image ID:
0099_optical(EtaCarinae)
Description:
Eta Carinae is the most luminous star known in our galaxy, radiating energy at a rate five million times greater than that of the Sun. Observations indicate that Eta Carinae is unstable and that matter is rapidly boiling off of its surface. Although some astronomers believe it could explode as a supernova at any time, because the star is seven thousand light years away, the explosion would pose no threat to Earth. <p> The optical image of Eta Carinae's made by the Hubble Space Telescope reveals two spectacular bubbles of gas expanding in opposite directions away from a central bright region at speeds in excess of a million miles per hour. The inner region visible in the Chandra image has never been resolved before, and appears to be associated with a central disk of high velocity gas rushing out at much higher speeds perpendicular to the bipolar optical nebula.
Data Source:
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Division:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Collection:
Normal Stars and Star Clusters Collection
Visitor Tag(s):

The Tarantula Nebula (30 Doradus): A Drama of Star Formation and Evolution

Creator:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Medium:
Chandra telescope x-ray
Type:
Photographs
Date:
1999
Credit:
NASA/CXC/SAO
Image ID:
0057_xray(tarantual_nebula)
Description:
This image of the Tarantula Nebula, taken by the Chandra x-ray telescope, gives scientists a close-up view of the drama of star formation and evolution. The nebula, also known as 30 Doradus, is located in one of the most active star-forming regions in our Local Group of galaxies. It is approximately 160,000 light years from Earth in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way that allows astronomers to study the details of starbursts?episodes of extremely prolific star formation that play an important role in the evolution of galaxies. While at least eleven extremely massive stars that are approximately two million years old have been detected in the bright star cluster shown here, this crowded region contains many more stars whose x-ray emission has not yet been resolved.
Data Source:
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Division:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Visitor Tag(s):

Jupiter: Jupiter Hot Spot Makes Trouble for Theory

Creator:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Medium:
Chandra telescope x-ray
Type:
Photographs
Date:
2000
Credit:
NASA/CXC/SAO
Image ID:
0001_xray_1(Jupiter)
Description:
This image of Jupiter, taken by the Chandra x-ray telescope, shows concentrations of auroral x-rays near the north and south magnetic poles. Although Chandra observed Jupiter for its entire ten-hour rotation, the northern auroral x-rays were the result of a single hot spot that pulsates for only forty-five minutes, similar to the high-latitude radio pulsations previously detected by NASA?s <I>Galileo<I> and <I>Cassini</I> spacecraft. Although other telescopes had previously detected x-rays emitted by Jupiter, scientists did not expect the sources of the radiation to be located so near the planet?s poles. Astronomers believe the x-rays are produced when energetic oxygen and sulfur ions trapped in Jupiter?s magnetic field crash into its atmospheare.
Data Source:
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Division:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Collection:
Solar System Collection
Visitor Tag(s):

NGC 6543 (Cat?s Eye Nebula)

Creator:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Medium:
Chandra telescope x-ray
Type:
Photographs
Date:
2000
Credit:
NASA/CXC/SAO
Image ID:
1220_xray_opt_side
Description:
In the image on the left, taken by the Chandra x-ray telescope of a bright central star in Cat?s Eye Nebula, the intensity of the x-ray emission correlates to the brightness of the orange coloring, capturing the expulsion of material from a star that is expected to collapse into a white dwarf in a few million years. This marks the first time astronomers have seen such x-ray emission from the central star of a planetary nebula. The image on the right is a composite of data from both Chandra and the Hubble Space Telescope that offers astronomers the opportunity to compare where the hotter gas, which emits x-rays, appears in relation to the cooler material seen in optical wavelengths. Although the hot gas is still extremely energetic and hot enough to radiate x-rays, Chandra shows it to be somewhat cooler than scientists would have expected for such a system.
Data Source:
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Division:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Collection:
White Dwarfs and Planetary Nebulas Collection
Visitor Tag(s):

SNR 0103-72.6: Chandra Finds Rich Oxygen Supply inside Glowing Ring (A supernova remnant in the Small Magellanic Cloud, a galaxy about 190,000 light years from Earth.)

Creator:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Medium:
Chandra telescope x-ray
Type:
Photographs
Date:
2003
Credit:
NASA/CXC/PSU/S.Park et al.
Image ID:
snr0103_comp
Description:
Chandra's image shows a striking, nearly perfect ring about 150 light years in diameter surrounding a cloud of gas rich in oxygen and shock-heated to millions of degrees Celsius. The ring marks the outer limits of a shock wave produced as material ejected in the supernova explosion plows into interstellar gas. The size of the ring indicates that we see the supernova remnant as it was about 10,000 years after its progenitor star exploded. Oxygen is synthesized by nuclear reactions in the interiors of stars at least ten time as massive as the Sun. When such a star explodes, its core collapses to form either a neutron star, or if massive enough, a black hole, and the oxygen-rich material surrounding the core is propelled into interstellar space.
Data Source:
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Division:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Collection:
Supernovas and Supernova Remnants Collection
Visitor Tag(s):

Cassiopeia A

Creator:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Medium:
Chandra telescope x-ray
Type:
Photographs
Date:
1999
Credit:
NASA/CXC/SAO
Image ID:
0237_xray(Cassiopeia A)
Description:
Cassiopeia A is the remnant of a star that exploded approximately three hundred years ago. This x-ray image, taken by the Chandra x-ray telescope, shows an expanding shell of hot gas produced by the explosion. This gaseous shell is about ten light years in diameter and has a temperature of approximately fifty million degrees.
Data Source:
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Division:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Collection:
Supernovas and Supernova Remnants Collection
Visitor Tag(s):

Crab Nebula Movie: Space Movie Reveals Shocking Secrets of the Crab Pulsar

Creator:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Medium:
Chandra telescope x-ray
Type:
Photographs
Date:
2000
Credit:
NASA/CXC/SAO
Image ID:
0052_xray(Crab Nebula)
Description:
The images in this collage, taken by the Chandra x-ray telescope over the span of several months, are presented in chronological order from left to right, excluding the close-up. They provide a stunning view of the activity in the inner region around the Crab Nebula pulsar, a rapidly rotating neutron star seen as a bright white dot near the center of the images. Enormous electrical voltages generated by the rotating, highly magnetized neutron star accelerate particles outward along its equator to produce a pulsar wind and polar jets, which spew particles emitting x-ray matter and antimatter particles perpendicular to the rings.
Data Source:
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Division:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Collection:
Supernovas and Supernova Remnants Collection
Visitor Tag(s):

NGC 4261: Trail of Black Holes and Neutron Stars Points to Ancient Collision

Creator:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Medium:
Chandra telescope x-ray
Type:
Photographs
Date:
2000
Credit:
NASA/CXC/SAO
Image ID:
ngc4261_comp
Description:
The image of the elliptical galaxy NGC 4261, taken by the Chandra x-ray telescope, reveals dozens of black holes and neutron stars strung out across tens of thousands of light years like beads on a necklace. Many astronomers believe that elliptical galaxies such as NGC 4261 are produced by collisions between spiral galaxies, a theory supported by computer simulations of galaxy collisions and the optical evidence of tails, shells, ripples, arcs, and other structures. However, as this image shows, the optical evidence rather quickly fades into the starry background of the galaxy, whereas an x-ray signature lingers for hundreds of millions of years. Chandra?s image of NGC 4261 shows that x-ray observations may be the best way to identify the ancient remains of mergers between galaxies.
Data Source:
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Division:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Collection:
Normal Galaxies and Starburst Galaxies Collection
Visitor Tag(s):

The Antennae: Chandra Locates Mother Lode of Planetary Ore in Colliding Galaxies

Creator:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Medium:
Chandra telescope x-ray
Type:
Photographs
Date:
1999
Credit:
NASA/CXC/SAO
Image ID:
antennae_panel
Description:
This montage of images taken by the Chandra x-ray telescope shows a pair of interacting galaxies known as The Antennae. The image on the lower right is of special significance, as it is processed and color-coded to show regions rich in iron (red), magnesium (green), and silicon (blue)?the three elements that form the ultimate building blocks for habitable planets. This remarkable image shows clouds that contain sixteen and twenty-four times more magnesium and silicon than the Sun does. Studies indicate that clouds enriched in heavy elements are more likely to form stars with planetary systems, so several hundred million years from now, The Antennae may be home to an unusually high number of planets.
Data Source:
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Division:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Collection:
Normal Galaxies and Starburst Galaxies Collection
Visitor Tag(s):

M87: Giant Galaxy?s Violent Past Comes into Focus (A giant elliptical galaxy in the Virgo galaxy cluster about 50 million light years from Earth.)

Creator:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Medium:
Chandra telescope x-ray
Type:
Photographs
Date:
2004
Credit:
NASA/CXC/W. Forman et al.
Image ID:
m87_04
Description:
Two Chandra observations of the giant elliptical galaxy M87 were combined to make this long-exposure image. A central jet is surrounded by nearby bright arcs and dark cavities in the multimillion degree Celsius atmosphere of M87. Much further out, at a distance of about fifty thousand light years from the galaxy's center, faint rings can be seen and two spectacular plumes extend beyond the rings. These features, which can be related to repetitive outbursts from the vicinity of the central supermassive black hole, show that the central black hole has been affecting the entire galaxy for a hundred million years or more. (The faint horizontal streaks are instrumental artifacts that occur for bright sources.)
Data Source:
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Division:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Collection:
Quasars and Active Galaxies Collection
Visitor Tag(s):

Centaurus A: A Nearby Elliptical Galaxy with an Active Galactic Nucleus

Creator:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Medium:
Chandra telescope x-ray
Type:
Photographs
Date:
1999
Credit:
NASA/CXC/SAO
Image ID:
0157blue_xray
Description:
First observed with the Chandra x-ray telescope in September 1999, Centaurus A is an elliptical galaxy that contains a spectacular jet and a core teeming with sources emitting x-rays. This Chandra image of Centaurus A?also known as NGC 5128?shows a bright central source, the Active Galactic Nucleus, which astronomers suspect harbors a supermassive black hole. They are also able to detect a jet emanating from the core and numerous pointlike x-ray sources, all bathed in diffuse x-rays produced by a gas that is heated to several million degrees and fills the galaxy. Chandra?s unprecedented imaging resolution allows scientists to clearly resolve each of these distinct components of the x-ray emission for detailed study for the first time. So far more than two hundred pointlike x-ray sources have been identified and studied in this galaxy.
Data Source:
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Division:
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Collection:
Quasars and Active Galaxies Collection
Visitor Tag(s):

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