Lecture Title: NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory: 20 years of the X-ray Sky in Sharp Focus!
Belinda J. Wilkes is a Senior Astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) in Cambridge, MA, and current director of the Chandra X-ray Center.
NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory is celebrating 20 years of operation and its uniquely sharp X-ray vision has made major strides in our understanding of all kinds of celestial sources. The observatory continues to be an indispensable tool for expanding the frontiers of our knowledge of space.
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 the illusive dark matter, and observes the matter being captured by black holes of all sizes.
Belinda will review highlights of Chandra and its’s exciting 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 of GW170817, the merging neutron stars detected in gravitational waves by LIGO.
Cosponsored with the Maria Mitchell Association.