The Unexpected
The Unexpected
Normal Stars
Carina Nebula
Milky Way

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NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory

Named after the Indian-American astronomer Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Chandra was launched and deployed by Space Shuttle Columbia on July 23, 1999. Chandra is unique because of its sensitivity and its extremely high precision mirrors.

These features have led to discoveries in many areas of astronomy, especially in relation to the life cycles of stars, the role of supermassive black holes in the evolution of galaxies, and the study of dark matter and dark energy.

Looking back on the accomplishments of NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory over the past dozen years, and trying to predict what it will find in the future, one thing is certain: we can expect the unexpected. This piece lists some of the expectations for the Chandra mission along with some of the unexpected discoveries. Click a category above to start.
Top 5 Chandra Facts

Chandra flies more than 1/3 of the way to the Moon.

Chandra can observe X-rays from clouds of gas so vast that it takes light five million years to go from one side to the other.

Chandra's resolving power is equivalent to the ability to read a stop sign at a distance of twelve miles.

At 45 feet long, Chandra is the largest satellite the Space Shuttle has ever launched.

Chandra can observe X-rays from particles up to the last second before they fall into a black hole.