Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Chandra X-Ray Observatory Lifts Veil on the Universe

The Chandra X-Ray Observatory has been providing unprecedented imagery of distant unuversal hot spots since its launch in 1999. X-Ray telescopes allow observation of many galactic and universal features that would not be possible otherwise, and the images Chandra makes are twenty-five times sharper than the previous best X-Ray telescope.

Chandra's unique and powerful prespective of the universe has challenged many long-held beliefs in the scientific community. For instance, Chandra was recently able to use its unique abilities to peer through the heretofore impenatrable clouds of gas and dust to observe peculiar features about the supermassive black hole - known as Sagittarius A* - which resides at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. The telescope recorded addtional evidence of a group of massive stars which had formed at a surprisingly close distance (less than a light year away) from this black hole.

Scientists previously thought the formation of stars this close to a black hole's event horizon to be impossible, and prior limited infrared evidence of these stars around the Sagittarius A* black hole caused much disussion and disagreement about their origin. With Chandra's X-Ray's seeing more clearly into this galactic center, scientist are now convinced that the evidince clearly indicates the massive stars were born there, which apparently rewrites some of the commonly accepted rules of both black holes and star formation.

The Chandra X-Ray Observatory website has a tremendous amount of resources to draw upon if you are interested in knowing more. In addition to the already mentioned images, there are loads of special features and displays, educational materials suitable for formal or informal setting, and lots of additional information about the amazing Chandra.

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