Chandra’s Cosmos: Dark Matter, Black Holes, and Other Wonders Revealed by NASA’s Premier X-Ray Observatory

Wallace H. Tucker. Smithsonian, $29.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-58834-587-5
Tucker (Revealing the Universe, with Karen Tucker), science spokesperson for the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s Chandra X-ray Center, relates the history of NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the purpose for which it was constructed. When Chandra was launched in 1999 aboard the space shuttle Columbia, astrophysicists hoped the x-rays it observed emitting from the hottest regions of space would reveal the twisted space around black holes, the secrets of supernovas, and how the big bang’s early moments shaped the universe. Tucker tells his story in three sections. “The Big” explores the paradox of dark matter and dark energy, the mysterious features that make up 95% of our universe. “The Bad” illuminates supermassive black holes, including the monsters that fuel quasars and those that lurk at the center of many galaxies—including the Milky Way. Tucker’s “The Beautiful” takes a closer look at supernovas, the explosive stellar death throes that end in white dwarfs, neutron stars, and pulsars. Because Earth’s atmosphere absorbs x-rays, astronomers need telescopes like Chandra in space to collect data. Tucker’s richly illustrated book shows why Chandra’s data is essential to building a more complete picture of our universe, its components, and its history. Illus. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/09/2017
Release date: 03/28/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5159-1400-6
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