Most powerful X-ray telescope
Chandra X-Ray Telescope
(Earth orbit.)
The Chandra X-Ray Telescope, launched in July 1999, has resolving power equivalent to the ability to read a stop sign at a distance of twelve miles. The sensitivity or power is due to the size and smoothness of the mirrors - if the state of Colorado were as smooth as Chandra's mirrors, Pikes Peak (14,110ft 4,299m). would be less than 1in 2.2 cm tall. Chandra orbits the earth 200 times higher than Hubble - more than 1/3 of the way to the moon. Chandra will be observing X-rays from clouds of gas so vast that it takes light five million years to go from one side to the other. The electrical power required to operate the instruments is 2 kilowatts, about the same power as a hair dryer. The light from some of the quasars observed by Chandra will have been traveling through space for ten billion years. Chandra can observe x-rays from particles up to the last second before they fall into a black hole.