Chandra's Cosmos: Dark Matter, Black Holes, and Other Wonders Revealed by NASA's Premier X-Ray Observatory

Chandra's Cosmos: Dark Matter, Black Holes, and Other Wonders Revealed by NASA's Premier X-Ray Observatory

by Wallace H. Tucker


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On July 23, 1999, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, the most powerful X-ray telescope ever built, was launched aboard the space shuttle Columbia. Since then, Chandra has given us a view of the universe that is largely hidden from telescopes sensitive only to visible light. In Chandra's Cosmos, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's Chandra science spokesperson Wallace H. Tucker uses a series of short, connected stories to describe the telescope's exploration of the hot, high-energy face of the universe. The book is organized in three parts: "The Big," covering the cosmic web, dark energy, dark matter, and massive clusters of galaxies; "The Bad," exploring neutron stars, stellar black holes, and supermassive black holes; and "The Beautiful," discussing stars, exoplanets, and life.

Chandra has imaged the spectacular, glowing remains of exploded stars and taken spectra showing the dispersal of their elements. Chandra has observed the region around the supermassive black hole in the center of our Milky Way and traced the separation of dark matter from normal matter in the collision of galaxies, contributing to both dark matter and dark energy studies. Tucker explores the implications of these observations in an entertaining, informative narrative aimed at space buffs and general readers alike.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781588345875
Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Press
Publication date: 03/28/2017
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

WALLACE H. TUCKER is the science spokesperson for the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's Chandra X-Ray Center. He is the author of numerous papers and seven books, including Revealing the Universe.

Table of Contents

Introduction. Cool Stories from the Hot Universe 1

Part I The Big

1 Galaxy Clusters 9

2 The Evidence for Dark Matter 15

3 Cold Dark Matter 25

4 Dark Matter Going Bananas 35

5 The Wonderful-and Fearful-Dark Side 43

6 What Is Dark Energy? 55

7 The Cosmic Web 61

Part II The Bad

8 Taking Pleasure in the Dimness of Stars 71

9 Cygnus X-1, Microquasars, and the Galactic Jet Set 81

10 Downtown Milky Way 91

11 The Secret in the Middle 101

12 Ducks Unlimited 113

13 The Origin and Growth of Supermassive Black Holes 121

14 Green Black Holes 131

15 Black Hole Feedback 143

Part III The Beautiful

16 Going Not Gentle into That Good Night 159

17 Core Collapse 177

18 The Crab and Other Pulsar Wind Nebulas 189

19 A Thin Cosmic Rain: Particles from Outer Space 203

20 Elemental Change 213

21 Cosmic Renewal 225

References 239

Acknowledgments 255

Index 256

Photography and Illustration Credits 264

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