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The Chandra X-Ray Telescope

The @stro object for the week of 12/13/1999

image of the Chandra X-Ray Telescope

image courtesy of CXC/TRW

The Chandra X-Ray Telescope. The Chandra X-Ray Telescope, part of NASA's "Great Telescopes" program, was launched by the Space Shuttle (STS-93) on July 23rd, 1999 and officially had first light on August 19th, 1999. "Chandra" is named for Nobel Laureate Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar. It is the most powerful x-ray telescope in operation today. Capable of high resolution it is "...designed to observe X-rays from high energy regions of the universe, such as hot gas in the remnants of exploded stars." It operates from a highly elliptical orbit that takes it as much as 1/3 of the distance to the Moon and back to within 6200 miles of Earth. It is because of this unusual orbit that Chandra is able to avoid the Earth's distorting radiation belts 85% of the time and is capable of taking exposures at up to 55 hours at a time.

Current information for the Chandra X-Ray Telescope:
Mission: Observe x-rays from astronomical objects
Launch Date: 7/23/1999
Status: Operational

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