'Whatever Was Needed': Remembering the Hair-Raising Rise to Orbit of STS-93

After two false starts, Columbia rises to orbit at 1:21 a.m. EDT on 23 July 1999. Photo Credit: NASA

Almost two decades ago, on 23 July 1999, the first woman ever to lead a space mission was launched aboard shuttle Columbia to deliver NASA’s $1.5 billion Chandra X-ray Observatory into a highly elliptical orbit. […]

In Honor of Chandra: 20 Years Since the Naming of NASA's Wild-Orbiting X-Ray Observatory

Backdropped by the stunning vista of Earth, the Chandra X-ray Observatory departs Columbia to begin its voyage of exploration. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years ago, this week, NASA opened a worldwide contest to name its third Great Observatory, devoted to X-ray studies of the Universe. Previously known as the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility (AXAF), […]

Astronomers Discover Distant Exoplanets in a 'Galaxy Far, Far Away'

Image of the gravitational lens galaxy RXJ 1131-1231, with the lens galaxy at the center and four smaller lensed background quasars. Image Credit: University of Oklahoma

Thousands of exoplanets have been discovered so far, of many different types, but they all share one thing in common: they have all been found in our own […]

New Horizons Finishes Returning Pluto Data to Earth Before Continuing Farther into Kuiper Belt

Artist’s depiction of data being sent by New Horizons back to Earth. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

To say that the New Horizons mission has been a success would be a massive understatement; this first-ever spacecraft to visit Pluto has revolutionized our understanding of this distant, small world. Pluto and its moons are complex and active […]

Enigmatic Pluto Emits X-Rays and 'Spray-Paints' Its Largest Moon, New Research Shows

For the first time, x-rays have been detected around Pluto, as seen by Chandra (inset image). Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Chandra X-Ray Center

It has been 14 months since the New Horizons spacecraft flew past Pluto and its moons, but data still continues to come in, and new discoveries […]

Increased X-Ray Activity From Milky Way's Supermassive Black Hole Puzzles Astronomers

An X-ray view (at the bottom) of the region around Sgr A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, taken with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. The analysis of archival observations from Chandra and other orbiting X-ray telescopes has revealed that Sgr A* has increased its X-ray flaring by a […]

Astronomers Get Rare Glimpse of the 'Nasty' Lifestyles of Massive Stars

Artist’s illustration of the vast disk of gas surrounding the massive and bright Wolf-Rayet star NaSt1, affectionately nicknamed ‘Nasty 1’. Observations with the Hubble and Chandra space telescopes revealed that contrary to other Wolf-Rayet stars, NaSt1 is feeding material into its companion star (shown here by the bridge of bright material connecting the two […]

Stellar (and Planetary) Formation Near Milky Way's Supermassive Black Hole Possible, New Study Suggests

An artist’s illustration of the vicinity of the supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way galaxy, known as Sagittarius A* . Astronomers have discovered a population of more than 150 massive young stars (shown as blue dots) in recent years that orbit within 2 light-years from the black hole. Newer observational […]

Astronomers Measure Galactic Winds at Milky Way's Center, Detect Record-Breaking X-Ray Flares From Its Supermassive Black Hole

A composite image of the area around the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, known as Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), taken with NASA’s Chandra X-ray space telescope. The colors in the main image represent medium, and high-energy X-rays as red, green, and blue respectively. The inset box shows a giant […]

Chandra X-Ray Observatory Helps Astronomers Weigh Most Massive Galaxy Cluster Discovered to Date

A composite, multi-wavelength image of the young galaxy cluster XDCP J0044.0-2033, also known as the Gioiello Cluster, which is located 9.6 billion light-years away. In the image, X-ray wavelengths appear purple, infrared appear as large red halos around some galaxies, and visible light appears as are red, green, and blue. Image Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/INAF/P.Tozzi, […]