It’s been 20 years since the NASA Chandra X-ray telescope was launched into space. As NASA celebrates this milestone this month, they have released images of some of the telescope’s breakthrough observations over the years. The telescope’s work is far from done, and it continues to make an unequalled contribution to what is known about many phenomena in the universe.
Capturing Never-before Seen Phenomena
The Chandra X-ray telescope was launched in July 1999. It went into space aboard the shuttle called Columbia. One of the most significant parts about the work it does is that it captures X-ray emissions, which cannot be seen by the human eye. Human beings are only able to see electro-magnetic waves that fall without the visible spectrum, and the wavelength of X-rays lies outside of this. This differentiates it from many other telescopes and makes the footage it delivers one-of-a-kind. Most special bodies release X-rays, and NASA’s special telescope has been roaming in space, tracking some emissions for a remarkable 2 decades.
The six images released by NASA show just how special the work of the X-ray telescope is. There is one taken during the second month of the Chandra’s year of launch in August 1999. The telescope captured the black hole that remained after a star exploded in a supernova. This took place at Cassiopeia A in the galaxy PKS 0637-72.
The Chandra X-ray telescope has also captured other black holes and the Milky Way. It has captured unique view of the planet Venus. It has also been here to witness galaxies merging. Such images could only be taken from outer space, because the high-energy X-rays from where they are derived can only be detected from space, and not Earth.
The Chandra’s mission is not over, for there’s still plenty to discover beyond this planet and this galaxy.