Chandra's Sharp View of the X-ray Sky: 20 years and counting.

Thursday, October 3, 2019 - 4:00pm
Phillips Auditorium

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory is celebrating 20 years of operation in 2019. Chandra's uniquely sharp X-ray vision has resulted in major strides in our understanding of all kinds of celestial sources, and it continues to be an indispensable tool for expanding the frontiers of our knowledge. From the discovery of an X-ray jet in its first targeted source and finding the compact stellar remnant of a supernova in the second, the excitement and surprises continue. Chandra uniquely pinpoints the youngest stars buried amongst the gas and dust of star-forming regions, observes the explosions as massive stars run out of fuel and tracks the evolution of the resulting supernova remnants, measures the complex structure of the hot gas which dominates the baryonic matter in clusters of galaxies, tracing their turbulent past and present, explores the properties of dark matter, and observes the matter being captured by black holes of all sizes. I will review highlights of Chandra and its scientific discoveries, from launch on the shuttle Columbia commanded by Eileen Collins, the first female commander, to recent work such as Chandra's first X-ray detection and continued monitoring of GW170817, the merging neutron stars detected in gravitational waves by LIGO.

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