The NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory celebrated 20 years since launching Columbia Space Shuttle on July 23, 1999. The agency has released a series of wonderful, new Chandra images to celebrate.
Chandra is built to see X-rays, making it ideal for observing hot things like stars and flocks of galaxies. The unique vision of the telescope creates colorful images that emphasize the stormy processes that occur between the stars. Researchers often combine Chandr's position with the viewpoint of other telescopes, including Hubble.
All new images are observers, but Chandre's view of Sagittarius A *, a supermassive black hole in the center of our Milky Way galaxy, truly opens the eyes.
Psychodelic composite image shows "clouds of gas at temperatures in millions of degrees, neutron stars and white dwarfs that crush material from accompanying stars and fine rolls of radio emissions." It combines Chandra X-rays in green and blue with radio data, visible in red from the MeerKAT telescope in South Africa.
NASA also released a composite image of the massive star Cygnus OB2, which combines Chandra with data from two other telescopes. This bright, wild look shows how this star sends high energy winds.
"These violent winds can collide or cause shocks in gas and dust around the stars, depositing large amounts of energy that produce X-rays that Chandra can detect," says NASA.
In 20 years, Chandra took 2,700 trips around the Earth and traveled more than 1.5 billion miles (2.4 billion kilometers).
You can see the close-ups of all anniversaries on the Chandra site and get lost in the wonders of the universe. The Space Telescope has more than earned its place as one of NASA's "Big Observatories".
It was originally released on July 23 at 9:23. PT.