Events

Belinda Wilkes Named Lifetime AAAS Fellow

Photographical portrait of Belinda J. Wilkes
Belinda J. Wilkes
Credit: Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest general scientific society, has elected Belinda J. Wilkes from the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian to its newest class of AAAS Fellows.

The 2021 class of AAAS Fellows includes 564 scientists, engineers and innovators spanning 24 scientific disciplines who are recognized for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements.

"We are incredibly proud of Belinda and her contributions to the field of astronomy," says Mike McCarthy, deputy director of the Center for Astrophysics. "This is one of the most distinct honors a scientist can achieve."

Wilkes is a senior astrophysicist at the Center for Astrophysics who served as director of the Chandra X-Ray Center (CXC) from 2014-2020. There she oversaw science and flight operations of the Chandra X-ray Observatory, one of NASA's flagship space-based telescopes.

"Journey Through an Exploded Star" Opens

A new way to interact and explore Cassiopeia A, the remains of an exploded star, has launched. The press release below outlines this novel initiative between the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access and the Chandra X-ray Center. Led by Chandra’s Kimberly Arcand, this project allows you to watch, interact, or learn about this supernova remnant while delving into astrophysics, computer science, and more.

This online interactive version of Cas A (as it’s referred to) is one latest milestone with Chandra. Cas A was the “First Light” image that Chandra observed just weeks after being launched into space in 1999. In the nearly twenty years since, Chandra has repeatedly observed Cas A, revealing new secrets about this object from the neutron star at its center to the elements of life it has expelled.

A decade ago, a team of scientists and image processors came together and created the first-ever three-dimensional model of Cas A. Now, this 3D model enters a new phase with the launching of "Journey Through an Exploded Star"” We hope you will explore with us.

Black Girls Code and NASA's Chandra Team Up for a Special Event

Image of black girls code logo and crab nebula

On Saturday, April 14, women and girls will gather in Brooklyn, NY, for a special STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) event. Black Girls Code, or BGC, is partnering with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory to help girls and young women learn how astronomers and computer scientists use data to create images of our Universe in two and three dimensions.

Following a connected series of activities, the participants (ages 9-13) will explore coding, 3D modeling, Virtual Reality, and more – all while using real data from NASA telescopes currently in space. Special guest speakers will include Andrea Razzaghi, Astrophysics Deputy Director at NASA HQ and Jessica Harris, an astronomer and education program development officer at the National Radio Astronomical Observatory.

This BGC event is the latest in the series of coding outreach programs developed by the Communications and Education group at the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, Mass. The driving force for these efforts is Kimberly Arcand, who brings a computer science background to her role as Chandra’s Visualization lead, and her team of image processors, computer programmers and designers.

Chandra has consistently prioritized developing tools for non-experts to interact with and investigate data from Chandra, one of NASA’s “Great Observatories,” along with the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope.

Chandra Celebrates Dark Matter Day

Bullet Cluster
The Bullet Cluster

While October 31st is obviously known best (at least in the United States) as the day to celebrate Halloween, this year it takes on an extra meaning. Scientists and science communicators have designated October 31, 2017 to be "Dark Matter Day".

Dark matter is the mysterious and pervasive substance that constitutes most of the matter in our Universe. Although scientists have made progress in better understanding dark matter, the true nature of this invisible material remains elusive.

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory plays an important role in the search to learn about dark matter. For example, in 2006 Chandra’s observations of the Bullet Cluster (officially known as 1E 0657-56) helped provide direct proof for the existence of dark matter, in a violent merger between two galaxy clusters. More recently, astronomers have used Chandra to test one model for dark matter by studying a collection of galaxy clusters.

400 Students, Educators, and Technology Professionals Attend "Hidden Figures" Event

Screening
Photo Credit: Tracy Karin Prell

Over 400 female middle and high school students, educators, and technology professionals attended a viewing of Hidden Figures and panel discussion at the Warwick Showcase Cinemas on Friday, March 24, 2017. The event was presented by Tech Collective, Rhode Island's industry association for technology, in partnership with NASA's Chandray X-ray Observatory and Providence P-TECH industry partners. The event included a private screening of the 2017 Oscar winning movie followed by a panel discussion featuring a diverse group of female STEAM professionals in Rhode Island.

"We Got This"

Women Summit
Illustration: NASA/CXC/K.Divona


Last month, I was honored to attend an extraordinary event: the United State of Women Summit convened by the White House. Since the word "summit" means a pinnacle, this couldn’t have been more appropriate for how I viewed this day and the amazing attendees I was able to share it with.

The United State of Women Summit brought together leaders in all different professional fields – from politics to entertainment, from science to finance. The common thread among all of the participants, however, was easy to find: everyone there wanted to continue to foster and enhance the opportunities for girls and women in whatever endeavors they may choose to pursue.

Chandra’s "Sweet 16"!

Chandra Sweet Sixteen
More information at http://chandra.harvard.edu/16th/index.html


Birthdays can be a lot of fun and most teenagers can’t wait to turn sixteen. After all, this birthday often marks new adventures and opportunities (not to mention, maybe a party!)

Today we are celebrating the “sweet 16th” birthday not of a person, but of NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. On July 23, 1999, Chandra was launched into space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia and has been working diligently to explore the high-energy Universe ever since.

Chandra Science on State Street

Hundreds of explorers converged on the campus of Framingham State University in Massachusetts on Saturday, April 25, 2015 to take part in the first annual Science on State Street festival.

The family-focused event offered up a variety of interactive STEM-themed learning stations addressing aspects of chemistry, astronomy, biology, engineering, robotics and more, arranged outdoors across the University’s shady upper campus. We estimate between 500 and 600 visitors overall to the event.

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