Within 40 years of the detection of the first extra-solar x-ray source in 1962, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has achieved an increase in sensitivity of 10 orders of magnitude, comparable to the gain in going from naked-eye observations to the most powerful optical telescopes over the past 400 years. Chandra is unique in its capabilities for producing sub-arcsecond x-ray images with 100-200 eV energy resolution for energies in the range 0.08 < E < 10 keV, locating x-ray sources to high precision, detecting extremely faint sources, and obtaining high-resolution spectra of selected cosmic phenomena. The extended Chandra mission provides a long observing baseline with stable and well-calibrated instruments, enabling temporal studies over timescales from milliseconds to years. In this report we present a selection of highlights that illustrate how observations using Chandra, sometimes alone, but often in conjunction with other telescopes, have deepened, and in some instances revolutionized, our understanding of topics as diverse as protoplanetary nebulae; massive stars; supernova explosions; pulsar wind nebulae; the superfluid interior of neutron stars; accretion flows around black holes; the growth of supermassive black holes and their role in the regulation of star formation and growth of galaxies; impacts of collisions, mergers, and feedback on growth and evolution of groups and clusters of galaxies; and properties of dark matter and dark energy.
Reports on Progress in Physics
- Pub Date:
- June 2014
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
- 74 pages, 28 figures, This is an author-created, un-copyedited version of an article to be published in Reports on Progress in Physics