In celebration of American Archive Month, NASA has released six mind-blowing images from the Chandra archive.
The Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched and deployed from Space Shuttle Columbia on July 23, 1999. Since then, it has collected data on thousands of cosmic objects such as pulsars, supernovae, interstellar gas clouds, and galaxies. NASA hopes that by releasing these images to the public and scientific community, it will inspire new perspectives and serve as inspiration for future exploration.
The images can take hours, and in some instances days, to capture. They are imaged using a combination of light waves, X-rays, and radio waves.
Below is W44, also known as G34.7-0.4, which is an expanding supernova remnant that is interacting with the dense cosmic material surrounding it.
Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Georgia/R.Shelton & NASA/CXC/GSFC/R.Petre; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Next is SN 1987A, the brightest and nearest supernova to Earth in the last century. This image shows the result of the supernova explosion, which occurs when a star runs out of fuel and then hurls layers of itself out into space.
Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/PUS/E.Helder et al; Optical: NASA/STScI
Below is Kesteven 79, another remnant of a supernova explosion. This one, however, occurred thousands of years ago.
Image credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/F.Seward et al, Optical: DSS
Next is MS 0735.6+7421, a galaxy cluster where one of the most powerful eruptions ever observed by humanity was seen.
Image credit: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Waterloo/A.Vantyghem et al; Optical: NASA/STScI; Radio: NRAO/VLA
Here, we see the galaxy cluster 3C295. The pink area is superheated gas and the yellow regions are individual galaxies. Galaxy clusters like this contain huge amounts of dark matter, which hold the hot gas (pink) and galaxies (yellow) together.
Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Cambridge/S.Allen et al; Optical: NASA/STScI
Last but not least is the "Guitar Nebula," containing a pulsar officially called B2224+65. This pulsar is traveling at an extremely high speed of approximately 800 kilometers (500 miles) per second.
Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/UMass/S.Johnson et al, Optical: NASA/STScI & Palomar Observatory 5-m Hale Telescope
Check out NASA’s website for more details on each image.