Launched aboard the space shuttle Columbia in 1999, Chandra is one of NASA's four Great Observatories, the others being the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, The Spitzer Space Telescope, and the famous Hubble Space Telescope. Each of these spacecraft was designed to measure different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The telescope was named after the great astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar.
Image: A computer-generated view of Chandra (credit: NASA)
This space telescope measures the Universe's high energy objects.
The Sky at Night looks at Compton, Chandra, Hubble and Spitzer.
Sir Patrick Moore and his guests talk about the Compton, Chandra, Hubble and Spitzer space observatories, which are collectively known as the Great Observatories.
The Chandra X-ray Observatory is a space telescope launched on STS-93 by NASA on July 23, 1999. Chandra is sensitive to X-ray sources 100 times fainter than any previous X-ray telescope, enabled by the high angular resolution of its mirrors. Since the Earth's atmosphere absorbs the vast majority of X-rays, they are not detectable from Earth-based telescopes; therefore space-based telescopes are required to make these observations. Chandra is an Earth satellite in a 64-hour orbit, and its mission is ongoing as of 2013.
Chandra is one of the Great Observatories, along with the Hubble Space Telescope, Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (1991–2000), and the Spitzer Space Telescope. Chandra has been described as being as revolutionary to astronomy as Galileo's first telescope.
It was named in honor of the Nobel-prize winning Indian-American astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar who worked for University of Chicago from 1937 until he died in 1995. He was known for determining the maximum mass for white dwarfs. "Chandra" means "moon" in Sanskrit. Before 1998, it was known as AXAF, the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility. AXAF was assembled and tested by TRW (now Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems) in Redondo Beach, California.
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