Chandra X-Ray Observatory

Artist's impression of the Chandra x-ray observatory
Artist's impression of Chandra

Chandra is a space telescope, launched by NASA in 1999, which uses x-ray radiation to study the universe. The Earth's atmosphere absorbs the majority of x-rays, and therefore x-ray observatories must operate from space. Chandra is an Earth satellite, with a 64 hour orbit.

Some facts about the telescope:

  • Observatory location: In orbit around the Earth
  • Altitude: 105,312 km
  • Mass: 4,790 kg
  • Dimensions: 14 x 20 metres
  • Launch date: 24th April 1990
Chandra x-ray image of an exploding star
X-ray image of an
exploding star
Credit: NASA/CXC

The data collected by Chandra has greatly advanced our understanding of x-ray astronomy. Chandra's discoveries include:

Chandra was given an initial lifetime of 5 years. However, NASA extended its lifetime to 10 years due to the telescope's outstanding results. Chandra is still in operation as of 2017.