A Galactic Spectacle: A pair of colliding galaxies about 62 million light years from Earth.

Description: This composite image of the Antennae galaxies contains X-rays from Chandra (blue), optical data from Hubble (gold and brown), and infrared data from Spitzer (red). The X-ray image shows huge clouds of hot, interstellar gas that have been injected with rich deposits of elements from supernova explosions. This enriched gas, which includes elements such as oxygen, iron, magnesium and silicon, will be incorporated into new generations of stars and planets. The bright, point-like sources in the image are produced by material falling onto black holes and neutron stars that are remnants of the massive stars.


Creator/Photographer: Chandra X-ray Observatory


NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, which was launched and deployed by Space Shuttle Columbia on July 23, 1999, is the most sophisticated X-ray observatory built to date. The mirrors on Chandra are the largest, most precisely shaped and aligned, and smoothest mirrors ever constructed. Chandra is helping scientists better understand the hot, turbulent regions of space and answer fundamental questions about origin, evolution, and destiny of the Universe. The images Chandra makes are twenty-five times sharper than the best previous X-ray telescope. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls Chandra science and flight operations from the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Medium: Chandra telescope x-ray


Date: 2010


Persistent URL: chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2010/antennae/


Repository: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory


Gift line: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/J.DePasquale; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech; Optical: NASA/STScI


Accession number: antennae_459

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Taken on January 26, 2011