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The X-ray light image of the cloud Cassiopeia A versus the visible light image. If you look very closely, you can see a small bright spot near the middle of the cloud in the X-ray image. Scientists say this may be a neutron star or black hole.
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Courtesy of NASA and the SAO Chandra X-ray Center

NASA Reveals First Images from Chandra
News story originally written on August 27, 1999

NASA revealed a few of the many images that will come from its newest telescope. Since first being deployed July 23, the Chandra X Observatory has had no problems. It first made a series of engine firings, before finally reaching its current orbit. The sunshade was opened, and now the images are starting to fly in.

The results are breathtaking. Included in the first set are images of a gigantic exploding star and a lightning quick X-ray blast flying through outer space. What's even more amazing, is the discovery of a possible neutron star or black hole found inside the stellar cloud.

NASA hopes this one discovery is just a glimpse of what's to come. They believe the powerful instrument will reveal black holes hiding throughout the universe. The Chandra takes images using X-rays instead of visual light. X-rays travel at a much higher frequency, and are usually released by extremely hot objects. Many of these objects cannot be seen with visual light, which means the Hubble Space Telescope cannot see them.

While the Hubble has a rather circular orbit close to Earth, Chandra follows an elliptical orbit, which sends the telescope to distances between 6,000 and 86,400 miles from Earth. It was named after a physicist, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar. He won a Nobel Prize in 1983.

Last modified January 29, 2001 by Jennifer Bergman.

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