Thursday, January 21, 2010

Space Telescopes

You may have seen some of the awesome images taken of distant galaxies and nebulae where stars are dying and being born. Or images of ancient supernova remnants spreading out into the vastness of space.
Or maybe an image of the Milky Way:

The Milky Way

Chances are that one (or more) of NASA's Great Observatories had something to do with those images.
The Great Observatories are four large telescopes which were launched into space, each with the ability to create images at a certain wavelength:
  • Hubble Space Telescope (observes the Universe at ultraviolet, visual, and near-infrared wavelengths)
  • Spitzer Space Telescope (observes the infrared spectrum)
  • Chandra X-ray Observatory (x-rays)
  • (now de-commissioned) Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (observed the very high energy gamma rays)
Over the following weeks I'll write a more detailed post about each of the three active telescopes and find some of the coolest and most beautiful images they've captured.

Something for you to look forward to :)

(While you wait you can have a look at the Bad Astronomer's top ten astronomy pictures of 2009)