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High-Energy Astrophysics News

Welcome to our archive of past news articles.
You will find previous articles listed below from most the recent back to our first articles in 1996.


Link to article Three Hours of Unimaginable Neutron Star Fury
[21 November 2000]
- As if daily billion-degree, helium-fueled nuclear explosions on neutron stars releasing more energy in 10 seconds than the Sun does in a week weren't fantastic enough, brace yourself for one blast far more powerful and lasting far longer.

Link to article Dishwasher-shaped Satellite to Catch Gamma-Ray Bursts
[10 October 2000]
- Gamma-ray bursts are explosions that represent the greatest release of energy in the Universe other than the Big Bang. Satellites detect several of these bursts a day, and scientists do not know what causes them.

Link to article Astronomers Find the Youngest Pulsar Yet
[11 September 2000]
- Astronomers at Columbia University used the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer to find the youngest pulsar yet -- a hot, spinning, highly-magnetized infant no more than ten miles across, born in a massive star explosion about 700 years ago.

Link to article X-Ray Observatory Marks First Anniversary
[28 August 2000]
- NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory celebrates its initial year in orbit with an impressive list of firsts. Through Chandra's unique X-ray vision, scientists have seen for the first time the full impact of a blast wave from an exploding star, a flare from a brown dwarf, and a small galaxy being cannibalized by a larger one.

Link to article Chandra Captures Flare From Brown Dwarf
[7 August 2000]
- Brown dwarfs are objects smaller than our Sun and most other stars, but larger than gas giant planets like Jupiter and Saturn. Unlike stars, brown dwarfs have too little mass to sustain nuclear reactions in their cores, so they're very dim - less than a tenth of a percent as luminous as the sun. Their primary source of energy is the release of gravitational energy as they slowly contract. Brown dwarfs intrigue many astronomers because they are poorly understood and probably a very common class of objects. But because they are cool, dim objects, they rarely provide much for high-energy astronomers to observe.

Link to article Cuddling Up in a Quilt of Gamma-ray Stars
[19 July 2000]
- The Compton Gamma Ray Observatory may be gone, but its memory lives on -- in a quilt museum in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Unbeknownst to Compton astronomers, a retired couple in rural Virginia took two gamma-ray images that their son received from NASA way back in 1993 and turned them into spectacular quilts.

Link to article Chandra Reveals Cosmic 'Hot Spot'
[12 June 2000]
- When you look at the image at left, what do you see? Two bright spots and a streak? That's exactly what it is, but it's also much more than that. The image, captured by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, shows a spectacular jet of x-rays streaking across hundreds of thousands of light years. The jet is powered by a giant black hole in the center of the galaxy, Pictor A. The stream of radiation ends in a brilliant x-ray hot spot.

Link to article Compton Gamma Ray Returns Safely to Earth
[5 June 2000]
- NASA's Compton Gamma Ray Observatory re-entered the Earth's atmosphere at approximately 2:10 a.m. EDT on June 4, according to calculations made by controllers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., in coordination with the U.S. Space Command's Control Center.

Link to article Compton Gamma Ray Observatory De-Orbit Status
[2 June 2000]
- After nine years of producing spectacular science that brought the field of gamma-ray astronomy to its maturity, the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory will return to earth in a controlled reentry over the Pacific Ocean on June 4.

Link to article Chandra Views a Supernova Remnant in the Making
[12 May 2000]
- Images made by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory show for the first time the full impact of the blast wave from Supernova 1987A (SN1987A). The observations are the first time that X-rays from a shock wave have been imaged at such an early stage of a supernova explosion. Astronomers are thrilled to see these images showing the progress of a supernova remnant in the making.

Link to article MIT Animation Reveals Violent X-ray Sky
[5 May 2000]
- If you could view the night sky with X-ray sensitive eyes, you would see a turbulent panorama of dying stars, active quasars and the extreme temperatures produced by matter falling into massive black holes at mind-boggling speeds. An animated video (see below) released by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reveals this changing and turbulent X-ray sky during the past four years.

Link to article Colliding Galaxies Create Cosmic "Cold Front"
[10 April 2000]
- When you think of a cold front, you probably imagine a temperature drop of five or ten degrees. Astronomers and astrophysicists deal with a very different scale. Fifty million degrees may not seem cold to you. But compared to 70 or 100 million degrees, it's quite chilly. Scientist recently mapped a region of those relatively cool temperatures buried inside a large region of colliding galaxies and 70 to 100 million degree gases. It's the first time the pressure fronts in the system have been mapped in detail.

Link to article Compton Gamma Ray Observatory to be Retired
[27 March 2000]
- NASA's extremely productive and long-lived Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory (CGRO) will end its mission in late May as it is brought back to Earth under a controlled re-entry plan. In December 1999 CGRO suffered the loss of one of it's three gyroscopes which are used to control the orientation of the satellite. NASA decided that the safest course of action was to bring the satellite down using the two remaining gyros. CGRO exceeded its expected mission lifetime by four years and completely changed ideas on the most important unsolved puzzles in astrophysics.

Link to article Hidden Gamma Ray Sources to be Exposed
[14 March 2000]
- The universe is a violent place. Stars explode. Galaxies collide. Gas and dust spin around black holes at incredible velocities until the black holes devour it all. Recent space telescope missions have given scientists a glimpse into the nature of these violent events and energetic objects. "GLAST" will give them a much better look.

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A service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA/GSFC

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