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CHANDRA X-RAY OBSERVATORY



  Jun 06, 2024

CHANDRA X-RAY OBSERVATORY



Introduction to Chandra X-ray Observatory

The Chandra X-ray Observatory is a space telescope launched by NASA in 1999 to detect X-rays emitted by high-energy events in the universe. These X-rays, which cannot be seen with the naked eye, help astronomers study phenomena like black holes, supernovae, and the formation and death of stars.
The telescope is named after the Nobel Prize-winning Indian astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar.


How Chandra Works

Chandra orbits the Earth, as our planet’s atmosphere absorbs X-rays from space, making it impossible to detect them from the ground. By being in space, Chandra can capture clear, sharp images of X-rays flying through space, providing detailed pictures of energetic events.

Key Discoveries

Chandra has given us incredibly detailed images of some of the universe’s most dramatic events:

• Supernova Explosions: When stars explode, they send out chemical elements into space. Chandra can see these explosions and the elements they produce.

• Black Holes: Chandra observes gas and stars falling into black holes, seeing gas that’s thousands of times hotter than the Sun escape galaxies in explosive winds.

• Dark Matter: Chandra detects the effects of dark matter by observing how it traps hot gas in gigantic pockets.

Studying Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN)

Supermassive black holes, which are millions of times more massive than our Sun, sit at the centers of all galaxies. When stars or clouds fall into these black holes, they emit a lot of X-rays, becoming very bright. These bright regions are called active galactic nuclei (AGN) or quasars.

Example Study: ESO 428-G014

Using Chandra, astronomers studied the galaxy ESO 428-G014, which has an AGN. Chandra’s images showed that the AGN illuminates a large area, revealing clouds of gas and interactions between the AGN and its host galaxy. These observations help scientists understand how the energy from AGNs affects the galaxies they inhabit.

Importance of Chandra’s Data

Chandra’s data is crucial for understanding the universe. It complements information from other telescopes, like the Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope, providing unique insights into the origins and behavior of supermassive black holes and other cosmic phenomena.

Future of X-ray Astronomy

Chandra is expected to last another 10 years. To continue exploring the high-energy universe, scientists are thinking about designing a new, more advanced X-ray observatory to succeed Chandra, although NASA has not yet announced firm plans for this.

Conclusion

The Chandra X-ray Observatory has been a vital tool in studying the universe’s most energetic events. Its clear, sharp images have provided invaluable information, helping astronomers learn more about black holes, supernovae, and the evolution of galaxies.


SRIRAM’s
 
 


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