Description: The Chandra image of the Centaurus galaxy cluster shows a long plume-like feature resembling a twisted sheet. The plume is some 70,000 light years in length and has a temperature of about 10 million degrees Celsius. It is several million degrees cooler than the hot gas around it, as seen in this temperature-coded image in which the sequence red, yellow, green, blue indicates increasing temperatures. The plume of relatively cool gas contains a mass comparable to 1 billion suns and may have been produced by the movement of the central galaxy through the cluster.

Creator/Photographer: Chandra X-ray Observatory

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, which was launched and deployed by Space Shuttle Columbia on July 23, 1999, is the most sophisticated X-ray observatory built to date. The mirrors on Chandra are the largest, most precisely shaped and aligned, and smoothest mirrors ever constructed. Chandra is helping scientists better understand the hot, turbulent regions of space and answer fundamental questions about origin, evolution, and destiny of the Universe. The images Chandra makes are twenty-five times sharper than the best previous X-ray telescope. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls Chandra science and flight operations from the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Medium: Chandra telescope x-ray

Date: 2002

Persistent URL: chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2002/0146/

Repository: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

Gift line: NASA/IoA/J. Sanders & A. Fabian

Accession number: centaurus_cluster02