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Chandra X-ray Observatory completes 10 yrs in orbit

The image shows debris of an exploded star captured by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. -- Image credit: NASA

WASHINGTON (BNS): The Chandra X-ray Observatory, launched by US space agency NASA to observe the high-energy universe, has successfully completed a decade in orbit and provided astronomers with valuable inputs on phenomena as diverse as comets, black holes, dark matter and dark energy.

“Chandra's discoveries are truly astonishing and have made dramatic changes to our understanding of the universe and its constituents,” said Martin Weisskopf, Chandra project scientist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

NASA had launched the Chandra X-ray on July 23, 1999 aboard space shuttle Columbia. Since then, Chandra has doubled its original five-year mission, “ushering in an unprecedented decade of discovery for the high-energy universe,” the space agency said in a statement.

The high-resolution X-ray images captured by Chandra – both on its own and in conjunction with other telescopes in space and on the ground -- has enriched the world of astronomy and astrophysics in the 21st century.

Chandra has provided the strongest evidence yet that dark matter must exist. It has independently confirmed the existence of dark energy and made spectacular images of titanic explosions produced by matter swirling toward supermassive black holes.

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Chandra X-ray, NASA will release three new versions of classic Chandra images in the next three months. These images will provide new data and a more complete view of objects that Chandra has observed in earlier stages of its mission, the space agency said.


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