Chandra’s "Sweet 16"!

Chandra Sweet Sixteen
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Birthdays can be a lot of fun and most teenagers can’t wait to turn sixteen. After all, this birthday often marks new adventures and opportunities (not to mention, maybe a party!)

Today we are celebrating the “sweet 16th” birthday not of a person, but of NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. On July 23, 1999, Chandra was launched into space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia and has been working diligently to explore the high-energy Universe ever since.

We are using this occasion to point out some notable milestones for the telescope. For example, did you know it’s traveled over 17 billion miles since it was deployed into orbit? Or that it has made over 2,200 laps around the Earth in its highly elliptical orbit? We also pulled together some information on just how much Chandra has contributed to our knowledge over its first 16 years in terms of how many published scientific papers it can be connected to and how many different objects it has observed.

But this teenaged observatory is not resting on its laurels. Rather, Chandra continues to observe the cosmos with its unique capabilities, making discovery after discovery. We wish the telescope -- and all of those people responsible for its development, construction, operation, and other support -- a wonderful sweet 16th.

-Megan Watzke, CXC

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