The Chandra X-ray Observatory was a reliable source of information in the past 20 years. Chandra X-ray Observatory’s initial mission in space was for five years, but it exceeded all expectations, and as of July 23rd, 2019, it has reached its 20th year in space. In this time, the observatory took 2,700 expeditions around Earth.
Chandra X-ray is among the Great Observatories space agencies have created until now. Chandra’s mission in space was to detect cosmic X-rays as it can sense X-rays 100 times dimmer than any other telescope, be it in space or on Earth.
During its time in space, the observatory succeeded many firsts in astronomy and astrophysics, such as the identification of a neutron star at the center of Cassiopeia A and of a supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way, measured the X-rays emitted by all types of stars and brought evidence of the existence of dark matter, among others.
Outstanding images of the Milky Way to celebrate Chandra’s 20th anniversary
It is worth mentioning that astronomers were able to witness an act of cannibalism between two galaxies, as a smaller galaxy is being ‘feasted upon’ by a bigger one and is enclosing the first one in it.
To celebrate Chandra’s second decade in space, NASA released images taken by the observatory of the Milky Way. One of the images presents Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole that resides in the middle of our galaxy. The center of the Milky Way is composed of incandescent gas, neutron stars and white dwarfs that pull apart stars in their proximity.
Radio emissions are also discharged in this process. Another image shows Cygnus OB2, a massive star which transmits high-energy winds. These powerful winds produce X-rays because they crash into dust and gas that surround stars. The images can be seen on Chandra’s official website.