No matter how much we stare into the night skies, even through our telescopes, there are just so many things we can’t see. But that’s why there are space telescopes and observatories. NASA’s has shared a stunning collection from its Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes. They show objects that are hidden from our eyes, and these images show them in all their glory and beauty.
The image collection consists of five photos, all of which were taken by observing the objects in light invisible to human eyes. This includes X-rays, infrared, and radio waves, and the data from different types of light has been assigned colors that the human eye can perceive.
In these photos, you can see a galactic center, Kepler’s Supernova remnant, galaxies ESO 137-001 and NGC 1365, and Vela Pulsar. So, let’s see the images and read more about these mesmerizing space objects.
The Galactic Center is about 26,000 light-years from Earth, but telescopes like NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory (orange, green, blue, purple) allow us to visit virtually. The center of the Milky Way contains a supermassive black hole, superheated clouds of gas, massive stars, neutron stars, and much more.
Kepler’s Supernova Remnant
The Kepler supernova remnant is the remains of a white dwarf that exploded after undergoing a thermonuclear explosion. Chandra (blue) shows a powerful blast wave that ripped through space after the detonation, while infrared data from NASA’s retired Spitzer Space Telescope (red) and optical light from Hubble (cyan and yellow) show the debris of the destroyed star.
As the galaxy moves through space at 1.5 million miles per hour, it leaves not one — but two — tails behind it. These tails trailing after ESO 137-001 are made of superheated gas that Chandra detects in X-rays (blue). ESO’s Very Large Telescope shows light from hydrogen atoms (red), which have been added to the image along with optical and infrared data from Hubble (orange and cyan).
The center of the spiral galaxy NGC 1365 contains a supermassive black hole being fed by a steady stream of material. Some of the hot gas revealed in the X-ray image from Chandra (purple) will eventually be pulled into the black hole. The Chandra image has been combined with infrared data from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (red, green, and blue).
By combining data from NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE, shown in light blue), Chandra (purple), and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope (yellow), researchers are probing Vela, the aftermath of a star that collapsed and exploded and now sends a remarkable storm of particles and energy into space. IXPE shows the average orientation of the X-rays with respect to the jet in this image.
As always, these photos aren’t here for our admiration. NASA combines data from Chandra with those from other telescopes to discover new information about these objects and understand the universe better.