News FocusAstronomy

X-ray Observatory Takes to the Sky

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Science  30 Jul 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5428, pp. 652-654
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5428.652

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After a couple of decades, a couple billion dollars, and some deflected careers, U.S. x-ray astronomers finally have a telescope of their own: the Chandra X-ray Observatory, which last week rode the Space Shuttle into space. Planning for Chandra began when the last American x-ray telescope, called Einstein, was launched in 1978; and by the time Chandra's 5- to 10-year lifetime is over, it will have cost $2.8 billion. The payoff will start to come in 2 weeks, when the telescope's doors will open and its instruments start recording x-rays from objects all the way back to the beginning of the universe.