History of Chandra X-Ray Observatory



Washington, DC, United States

Chandra X-Ray Observatory took this first x-ray picture of the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) on October 13, 1999. The blue dot in the center of the image is a "cool" million-degree x-ray source where a supermassive black hole with the mass of 30-million suns is located. The x-rays are produced by matter furneling toward the black hole. Numerous other hotter x-ray sources are also apparent. Most of these are probably due to x-ray binary systems, in which a neutron star or black hole is in close orbit around a normal star. While the gas falling into the central black hole is cool, it is only cool by comparison to the 100 other x-ray sources in the Andromeda Galaxy. To be detected by an x-ray telescope, the gas must have a temperature of more than a million degrees. The Andromeda Galaxy is our nearest neighbor spiral galaxy at a distance of two million light years. It is similar to our own Milky Way in size, shape, and also contains a supermassive black hole at the center. (Photo Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/S. Murray, M. Garcia)


  • Title: History of Chandra X-Ray Observatory
  • Date Created: 1999-10-13
  • Rights: MSFC
  • Album: rlobrie1

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