New Commons Photos: The Destiny of a Galaxy

In the past week, a series of six more images from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s Chandra X-ray team were uploaded to the Flickr Commons. Incidentally, they are all images of supernovas and black holes. Visualizing black holes is a challenge (at least for me) as the term conjures up images in my own head of silent, black infinity. But luckily for us (and as you can see from the slideshow above), the new images are a Technicolor delight of swirled colors.

Kim Kowal Arcand, the Chandra X-ray Observatory’s Multimedia Specialist, wrote to me about the images:

“In more than a decade of operation, the Chandra X-ray Observatory has transformed our view of the high-energy universe with its ability to make exquisite X-ray images of star clusters, supernova remnants, galactic eruptions, and collisions between clusters of galaxies. Chandra has probed the geometry of space-time around black holes, traced the dispersal of calcium and other elements by supernovas, and revealed that whirling neutron stars only twelve miles in diameter can generate streams of high-energy particles that extend for light years. Chandra has found cosmic generators millions of times more powerful than neutron stars – rapidly spinning, supergiant black holes in the centers of galaxies. There, energy from the rotation of the black hole and surrounding gas is converted into powerful jets and winds that can influence the destiny of an entire galaxy.”

Whoa . . . Go check out the destiny of a galaxy in the Chandra X-ray Observatory set on the Flickr Commons.

Leave a Comment

Produced by the Smithsonian Institution Archives. For copyright questions, please see the Terms of Use.