Chandra Mission
Mission Overview
Where's Chandra
Tracking Chandra
Top 10 Facts
Naming Chandra
Mission Milestones
Chandra Hardware
Telescope System
Science Instruments
Interactive Chandra
Chandra Specs
Who's Who
Web Shortcuts
Chandra Blog
RSS Feed
Email Newsletter
News & Noteworthy
Image Use Policy
Questions & Answers
Glossary of Terms
Download Guide
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About Chandra

  • Since its launch on July 23, 1999, the Chandra
    X-ray Observatory has been NASA's flagship
    mission for X-ray astronomy, taking its place in
    the fleet of "Great Observatories."

    Chandra Spacecraft Components
  • Who we are

    NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory is a telescope specially designed to detect X-ray emission from very hot regions of the Universe such as exploded stars, clusters of galaxies, and matter around black holes. Because X-rays are absorbed by Earth's atmosphere, Chandra must orbit above it, up to an altitude of 139,000 km (86,500 mi) in space. The Smithsonian's Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, MA, hosts the Chandra X-ray Center which operates the satellite, processes the data, and distributes it to scientists around the world for analysis. The Center maintains an extensive public web site about the science results and an education program.

  • What we do

    Chandra carries four very sensitive mirrors nested inside each other. The energetic X-rays strike the insides of the hollow shells and are focussed onto electronic detectors at the end of the 9.2- m (30-ft.) optical bench. Depending on which detector is used, very detailed images or spectra of the cosmic source can be made and analyzed.

  • What we are excited about

    Chandra has imaged the spectacular, glowing remains of exploded stars, and taken spectra showing the dispersal of elements. Chandra has observed the region around the supermassive black hole in the center of our Milky Way, and found black holes across the Universe. Chandra has traced the separation of dark matter from normal matter in the collision of galaxies in a cluster and is contributing to both dark matter and dark energy studies. As its mission continues, Chandra will continue to discover startling new science about our high-energy Universe. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

2019: Chandra's 20th Anniversary

Chandra's 20th Anniversary materials
Discover Chandra
Chandra Mission
Chandra Mission Overview
Chandra is designed to observe X-rays from high-energy regions of the Universe.
Top Ten Facts
Top 10 Facts About Chandra
Did you know Chandra was the largest satellite the Shuttle Columbia ever launched?
X-ray Images 101
X-ray Images 101
How are Chandra images made? What do the colors mean? Find out the answers to these questions and more in X-ray Images 101.
The Science of X-ray Technology
The Science of X-ray Technology
From airport security to medicine, find out what X-ray astronomy has done for us on the ground.
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (Chandra)
Discover the man behind the name, including which area of study he was awarded the Nobel prize for.
Fun Facts
Fun Facts
Learn some interesting trivia about the Chandra X-ray Observatory in a question & answer format.
Tracking Chandra
Tracking Chandra
Follow this tutorial to see just what the Chandra orbit looks like.
Google & WWT
Google Earth & WorldWide Telescope
Immerse yourself in Chandra's X-ray Universe with Sky in Google Earth and Microsoft WorldWide Telescope.
Chandra Communications & Public Engagement Program & Impact
Chandra provides a multifaceted Communications & Public Engagement program encompassing press relations, public outreach and education that reaches a large and diverse audience of national and international scope. Learn more about our programs and impact.
Interactive Chandra
Interactive Chandra
Learn about all
the parts of the
Chandra spacecraft
and how they work
together to take
the x-ray images
you have seen over
the years.
Where's Chandra?
Where's Chandra?
Use NASA's Eyes
on the Solar System

(an applet from JPL)
to find out where
Chandra is right
New & Noteworthy
The latest addition, updates, annoucements & other special features.