Chandra X-ray Observatory
nepâhešgâh-e partowhâ-ye X-e Chandra
Fr.: Observatoire des rayons X Chandra
An astronomy satellite launched by NASA in 1999 July, specially designed to detect X-ray emission from very hot regions of the Universe such as exploded stars, clusters of galaxies, and matter around black holes. Chandra carries a high resolution mirror (aperture 1.2 m, focal length 10 m), two imaging detectors (HRC and ACIS), and two sets of transmission grating spectrometer (LETG and HETG). Important Chandra features are: an order of magnitude improvement in spatial resolution, good sensitivity from 0.1 to 10 keV, and the capability for high spectral resolution observations over most of this range. Chandra was initially given an expected lifetime of 5 years, but on 4 September 2001 NASA extended its lifetime to 10 years "based on the observatory's outstanding results." Among the results obtained using Chandra one can mention the spectacular image of the → supernova remnant Cassiopeia A. See also → X-ray astronomy.
Initially called Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility (AXAF), the satellite was renamed the Chandra X-ray Observatory in honor of Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physics, → Chandrasekhar limit. Moreover, Chandra, or candra- means "moon" or "shining" in Skt., from cand- "to give light, shine;" cf. Gk. kandaros "coal;" L. candela "a light, torch," from candere "to shine;" → X-ray; → Observatory.