The Chandra X-Ray Observatory is an orbital telescope used to see the x-ray spectrum. It looks like a long cylinder with solar panels. This is due to the fact that x-rays can only be reflected by very small angles at a time or else they will pass through the mirror. It is used often to look at fun things like black holes and x-ray halos. The telescope has also been used to observe the Andromeda Galaxy and most anything high energy. One of the most interesting things its being used to research is the properties of cosmic dust between stars, not only because of the findings but also because of the mathematics used to pull information on everything from dust size to metallicity simply from x-ray data. Its primary website is, there are some striking images there.

General Facts

Launch date
July 23, 1999
Launch vehicle
space shuttle Columbia
Time to orbit Earth
64 hours
from 9,660 km (6,000 miles) to 139,000 km (86,500 miles)
Length (sun shade open)
45.3 feet
Width (solar arrays open)
64 feet
Satellite builder
Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer (ACIS)
High Resolution Camera (HRC)
High Energy Transmission Grating (HETG)
Low Energy Transmission Grating (LETG)

Instrument Information

Arrays: ACIS-I is 4 CCDs, ACIS-S is 6 CCDs
CCD Resolution: 1024x1024
Pixel size: 0.492 arcsec
Array size: ACIS-I - 16.9x16.9 arcmin, ACIS-S - 8.3x0.6 arcmin
Max readout rate per channel: appx. 100 kpix/s
Energy range: 0.5, 1.5 and 8.0 keV
Arrays: HRC-I, HRC-S. Both are CsI microcoated plate pairs
Field of view: HRC-I - 30x30 arcmin, HRC-S - 6x90 arcmin
Spatial resolution: appx. 0.4 arcsec
Energy range: 0.8 - 10 keV
Range: 0.4-10 keV
Accuracy: From 0.4-5.0 keV (Medium Energy) 0.006 angstrom, From 0.8-10 keV (High Energy) 0.011 angstrom
Range: HRC-S 0.07-7.29 keV, ACIS-S 0.20-8.86 keV
Resolution: 0.05 angstrom

Dr. DiStephano - Harvard University

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