Health & Science
5:30 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

NASA's Chandra X-Ray Telescope Explores Universe's Hot Spots

Labeled illustration of the Chandra X-ray Observatory.
Labeled illustration of the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

In 2005, Marquette University established the George Coyne lecture series on Astronomy and Astrophysics. Each year since then, the University invites a distinguished speaker to campus to deliver a talk. And every year, Lake Effect has interviewed those speakers, beginning with Father Coyne himself in 2006.

In September 2013, that speaker was Harvey Tananbaum.  Dr. Tananbaum is the director of NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Boston.

After 15 years in orbit, Tananbaum says the flagship X-Ray telescope is still going strong, exploring the hottest regions of the universe.

"We are studying stars, we’re studying supernova explosions; stars that can no longer hold their act together and blow up, we’re studying galaxies that bump into each other and collide, we’re studying the hot gas that fills the space in between galaxies, we’re studying black holes in the centers of galaxies," he says.

Tananbaum received his degrees from Yale and MIT, and has been awarded the NASA Medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement and for Outstanding Leadership. In 2005, he was elected to the National Academy of Science, considered to be one of the highest honors awarded to a U.S. scientist.