Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2002 October 12
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Chandra Deep Field
Credit: Riccardo Giacconi et al., JHU, AUI, NASA

Explanation: Officially the Chandra Deep Field - South, this picture represents the deepest ever x-ray image of the Universe. One million seconds of accumulated exposure time with the orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory went in to its making. Concentrating on a single, otherwise unremarkable patch of sky in the constellation Fornax, this x-ray image corresponds to the visible light Hubble Deep Field - South released in 1998. Chandra's view, color coded with low energies in red, medium in green, and high-energy x-rays in blue, shows many faint sources of relatively high-energy x-rays. These are likely active galaxies feeding supermassive central black holes and large clusters of galaxies at distances of up to 12 billion light-years. The stunning picture supports astronomers' ideas of a youthful universe in which massive black holes were much more dominant than at present.

Tomorrow's picture: Big Appetite

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.