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Fireworks Mark Chandra X-Ray Telescope's 15th Birthday
NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory went into orbit 15 years ago, and to mark the occasion, scientists are showing off a fresh batch of X-ray fireworks.
Chinese astronomers and others around the world witnessed the creation of the Crab Nebula by a supernova explosion in the year 1054. This new image from Chandra shows a rapidly rotating neutron star, or pulsar, spewing out a blizzard of high-energy particles. Lower-energy X-rays are shown in red, medium energy in green, and high energy in blue.Chandra X-ray Observatory Center
To celebrate Chandra's deployment from the shuttle Columbia on July 23, 1999, the telescope team is releasing four new pictures of supernova remnants: the Crab Nebula, Tycho, G292.0+1.8 and 3C58. Chandra's X-ray vision is well-suited to reveal the hot spots in those celestial blast zones.
"Chandra changed the way we do astronomy," Paul Hertz, NASA's Astrophysics Division director, said in a news release on Tuesday. "We're fortunate we've had 15 years — so far — to use Chandra to advance our understanding of stars, galaxies, black holes, dark energy and the origin of the elements necessary for life."
To mark the anniversary, Chandra scientists will participate in a Google+ Hangout starting at 3 p.m. ET Tuesday.