The Chandra X-ray observatory has been observing the universe in X-ray wavelengths for fifteen years. The space telescope's scientific highlights gallery has so much gorgeous X-ray goodness that it's hard to pick favourites. Need to be swept away by the sheer beauty of space? We've got you covered.

Top Image: A black hole lurks at the center of galaxy NGC 4945. Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ degli Studi Roma Tre/A.Marinucci et al, Optical: ESO/VLT & NASA/STScI

NGC 4258/M106, a galaxy with extra arms, a supermassive black hole, and a beautiful light show of glowing gas. Image Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Caltech/P.Ogle et al; Optical: NASA/STScI; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech; Radio: NSF/NRAO/VLA

Pulsar with a ridiculously oversized jet stretching 37 light years from the star. Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/ISDC/L.Pavan et al, Radio: CSIRO/ATNF/ATCA Optical: 2MASS/UMass/IPAC-Caltech/NASA/NSF


I first stumbled upon the gallery while celebrating the Chandra X-Ray Observatory's birthday. Now I'm left agog and overwhelmed by selection, struggling to even limit the options down to a handful to talk about here.

A spinning black hole powers quasar RX J1131-1231. Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ of Michigan/R.C.Reis et al; Optical: NASA/STScI


I do have a slight preference: the images where X-rays paint just part of part of a massive spectrum beyond the visible range and each telescope contributes its own layer tickle me with delight.

The supermassive black hole Sgr A* at the center of the Milky Way hammers high-energy particles out in a pair of jets. Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/UCLA/Z. Li et al; Radio: NRAO/VLA

The galactic supernova 3C 397/G41.1-0.3 is strangely square. Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ of Manitoba/S.Safi-Harb et al, Optical: DSS, Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Layers of a supernova explosion in Cassiopeia A. Image credit: NASA/CXC/SAO

What are you favourite images from the Chandra space telescope? Share them in the discussion!

Does this packet of X-ray astronomy have you itching for more? Here's a collection of images featuring optical and radio light by two of NASA's other Great Observatories.