What is NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory?
NASA is full of innovation and new ideas that are on the forefront of invention and policy. They have always taken part in exploring more of the unknown and their mission with the Chandra X-Ray Observatory is doing just this. This observatory was launched and deployed in 1999 by the Space Shuttle Columbia. It is still one of the most advanced x ray observatories built.
The Chandra X-Ray Observatory was initially designed to see and observe different high energy regions from different parts of the universe. It has since observed more than scientists could have ever hoped for. It is one of the most critical pieces of space equipment used to date. Together with other satellites and other space equipment, this observatory can help build a picture of what the universe looks like.
The Chandra X-Ray Observatory is built up of three different parts. It includes:
- X-ray telescope
- Science instruments to analyze images
- The actual spacecraft.
Each part operates to ensure that the other pieces will work. This spacecraft has been in operation for more than twenty years and is still working great.
How It Moves
The Chandra X-Ray Observatory circulates through space in an ellipse. It moves close to the moon and then close to Earth's surface. It can actually fly about 1/3 the distance to the moon, which is about 200 times farther and higher than the famous Hubble telescope. It's ability to travel this far distance makes it one of the most important spacecrafts in NASA's large collection. It takes 64 hours and 18 minutes to make one full rotation, so it is constantly pulling information from different parts of space and analyzing the results. The results are fed back to NASA's computer systems to give all scientists and researchers a better idea and a better picture what is going on in the universe.
The Chandra X-Ray Observatory center is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. There are many world renowned scientists from SAO,MIT and NGST working here to ensure that the observatory is a success. They constantly watch the pattern of the space craft, analyze images, and study the changes to the universe at all times.
Some of the main functions of the Chandra X-Ray Observatory is to observe stars, black holes, supernovas, dark matter and other unknown parts of the solar system. By observing these different aspects, we are all able to gain a better understanding of the universe to see where we will be in the future.
One of the main functions of the Chandra X-Ray Observatory is that it can produce sharper images. It is capable of producing images that are 25 times sharper than other x ray pictures. In fact, it could clearly read a stop sign from twelve miles away. The telescopic clarity of this spacecraft are some of best that NASA has launched into space so far. This provides NASA with an abundance of information that they can use to drive the future of innovation.
Some of the most notable pictures that Chandra gathers are from pieces of jet matter that get released from black holes from all different parts of the galaxy. Chandra has been able to observe x-rays from different clouds of gas that have been in space for about five million years or more. And, some of the light that is observed from this satellite has been traveling through space for over 10 billion years.
Scientists are able to study and analyze every single picture that is taken from this impressive piece of equipment, making it one of the most influential pieces of technology that NASA has.
While the Chandra X-Ray Observatory provides a great deal of information to NASA, it is fairly easy to control and power. In fact, the electrical power that is required to power the entire spacecraft is the same that is required to power a hair dryer. The spacecraft is 45 feet long and is one of the largest satellites in orbit today.
The Chandra X-Ray Observatory has been able to study various different pieces of the universe, however, one of the most spectacular finds from this satellite is that it can take pictures and study different particles of space up to one second before they fall into a black hole. Black holes are still a huge mystery to scientists and researchers around the world. Our ability to see anything before they enter a black hole gives us a clue into how they work, where they are located, and how they move.