NASA's Chandra Observatory has been studying the universe in the X-ray wavelength since its launch in 1999, but is not as well known as other observatories like Hubble or Spitzer. One reason for this is that the universe looks very different in the X-ray wavelength – sometimes almost undetectable. However, this can be an invaluable source of information about distant galaxies and strange space phenomena, especially when X-ray data is combined with other wavelength data into one visible image.
That's why NASA released this collection of beautiful images that combine X-ray observations with other wavelength observations to show how tools like Chandra allow us to see the universe through different eyes.
This selection of images of different types of light from different missions and telescopes has been combined to better understand the universe. Each composite image contains X-ray data from Chandra as well as other telescopes. NASA / CXC / SAO, NASA / STScI, NASA / JPL-Caltech / SSC, ESO / NAOJ / NRAO, NRAO / AUI / NSF, NASA / CXC / SAO / PSU and NASA / ESA
At the top left, you can see the M82 galaxy, with the Chandra X-ray data showing the gas outflows in blue and pink while the visible light data from Hubble showing the galaxy itself in red and orange. The glowing gas in the drains has temperatures of over ten million degrees, which have been repeatedly heated by several supernova explosions.
In the middle of the top row is a cluster of galaxies called Abell 2744. This is a really enormous collection of galaxies that are bound together by gravity and that also contain a huge cloud of hot gas that can be tens of millions of degrees. The heat of this gas makes it shine in the X-ray spectrum, which is shown here using Chandra data in blue and Hubble data in green, red and blue.
At the top right is one of the brightest supernova explosions of the 1980s, SN 1987a. Chandra data shows the shockwave of the explosion in blue, with Hubble data filling in the rest.
At the bottom right is a system at the edge of the supernova called Eta Carinae, in which two stars orbit each other closely. This image consists not only of X-ray and visible light data, but also of ultraviolet data collected by Hubble, which is shown in cyan.
The lower center shows the famous Cartwheel Galaxy, which received its characteristic shape when a smaller galaxy violently collided with a larger one. Chandra data shows the hot gas drawn by the collision in purple, and Hubble data in red, green, and blue shows how the collision triggered star formation.
Finally, at the bottom right you can see the breathtaking Helix Nebula, which gives an insight into what our sun could look like in billions of years if it runs out of fuel and it rises into a huge cloud of dust and gas. Here, infrared data from the Spitzer telescope is displayed in green and red, optical light data from Hubble in orange and blue, ultraviolet light from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer in cyan, and Chandra data in white, highlighting the dwarf star that remains in the heart of the nebula .