An extraordinary view of the universe: The use of X-ray vision in space exploration

Aneta Siemiginowska


X-ray emission from cosmic sources indicates that these sources are heated to temperatures exceeding a million degrees or that they contain highly energetic particles. Recent X-ray telescopes, such as the Chandra X-ray Observatory and XMM-Newton, observed thousands of cosmic X-ray sources. These observations greatly impacted our understanding of the physics governing the evolution of structures across the universe. Here, I review and highlight some of these important results.



Alexander, D. M., Bauer, F. E., Brandt, W. N., Schneider, D. P., Hornschemeier, A. E., Vignali, C., ... Sargent, W. L. W. (2003). The Chandra deep field north survey. XIII. 2 Ms point-source catalogs. The Astronomical Journal, 126(2), 539–574. doi: 10.1086/376473

Allen, S. W., Evrard, A. E., & Mantz, A. B. (2011). Cosmological parameters from observations of galaxy clusters. Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 49, 409–470. doi: 10.1146/annurev-astro-081710-102514

Brandt, W. N., & Hasinger, G. (2005). Deep extragalactic X-ray surveys. Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 43, 827–859. doi: 10.1146/annurev.astro.43.051804.102213

Giacconi, R. (2002). The dawn of X-ray astronomy. Nobel lecture. Stockholm, 8 December. Retrieved from

Giacconi, R., Gursky, H., Paolini, F. R., & Rossi, B. B. (1962). Evidence for X rays from sources outside the Solar System. Physical Review Letters, 9, 439–443. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.9.439

Giacconi, R., Rosati, P., Tozzi, P., Nonino, M., Norman, C., Bergeron, J., ... Zheng, W. (2001). First results from the X-ray and optical survey of the Chandra Deep Field South. The Astrophysical Journal, 551, 624–634. doi: 10.1086/320222

Giacconi, R., & Rossi, B. (1960). A “telescope” for soft X-ray astronomy. Journal of Geophysical Research, 65(2), 773–775. doi: 10.1029/JZ065i002p00773

Hardcastle, M. J., Lenc, E., Birkinshaw, M., Croston, J. H., Goodger, J. L., Marshall, H. L., ... Worrall, D. M. (2016). Deep Chandra observations of Pictor A. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 455(4), 3526–3545. doi: 10.1093/mnras/stv2553

Harris, D. E., & Krawczynski, H. (2006). X-ray emission from extragalactic jets. Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 44, 463-506. doi: 10.1146/annurev.astro.44.051905.092446

Hlavacek-Larrondo, J., Fabian, A. C., Edge, A. C., & Hogan, M. T. (2012). On the hunt for ultramassive black holes in brightest cluster galaxies. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 424(1), 224–231. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2012.21187.x

Kirkpatrick, C. C., McNamara, B. R., Rafferty, D. A., Nulsen, P. E. J., Bîrzan, L., Kazemzadeh, F., ... Cavagnolo, K. W. (2009). A Chandra X-ray analysis of Abell 1664: Cooling, feedback, and star formation in the central cluster galaxy. The Astrophysical Journal, 697(1), 867–879. doi: 10.1088/0004-637X/697/1/867

Lehmer, B. D., Xue, Y. Q., Brandt, W. N., Alexander, D. M., Bauer, F. E., Brusa, M., ... Vignali, C. (2012). The 4 Ms Chandra Deep Field-South number counts apportioned by source class: Pervasive Active Galactic Nuclei and the ascent of normal galaxies. The Astrophysical Journal, 752(1), 46–69. doi: 10.1088/0004-637X/752/1/46

Li, Z., & Wang, Q. D. (2007). Chandra detection of diffuse hot gas in and around the M31 bulge. The Astrophysical Journal, 668(1), L39–L42. doi: 10.1086/522674

Massaro, F., Harris, D. E., & Cheung, C. C. (2011). Large-scale extragalactic jets in the Chandra era. I. Data reduction and analysis. The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 197(2), 24–38. doi: 10.1088/0067-0049/197/2/24

Mushotzky, R. F., Cowie, L. L., Barger, A. J., & Arnaud, K. A. (2000). Resolving the extragalactic hard X-ray background. Nature, 404, 459–464. doi: 10.1038/35006564

Schreier, E. J., Feigelson, E., Delvaille, J., Giacconi, R., Grindlay, J., Schwartz, D. A., & Fabian, A. C. (1979). Einstein observations of the X-ray structure of Centaurus A - Evidence for the radio-lobe energy source. The Astrophysical Journal, 234, L39–L43. doi: 10.1086/183105

Schreier, E. J., Gorenstein, P., & Feigelson, E. D. (1982). High-resolution X-ray observations of M87 - Nucleus, jet and radio halo. The Astrophysical Journal, 261, 42–50. doi: 10.1086/160316

Schwartz, D. A., Marshall, H. L., Lovell, J. E. J., Piner, B. G., Tingay, S. J., Birkinshaw, M., ... Worrall, D. M. (2000). Chandra discovery of a 100 kiloparsec X-ray jet in PKS 0637-752. The Astrophysical Journal, 540(2), 69–72. doi: 10.1086/312875

Siemiginowska, A., Stawarz, Ł., Cheung, C. C., Aldcroft, T. L., Bechtold, J., Burke, D. J., ... Migliori, G. (2012). Deep Chandra X-ray imaging of a nearby radio galaxy 4C+29.30: X-ray/radio connection. The Astrophysical Journal, 750(2), 124–143. doi: 10.1088/0004-637X/750/2/124

Sobolewska, M. A., Siemiginowska, A., Migliori, G., Stawarz, Ł., Jamrozy, M., Evans, D., & Cheung, C. C. (2012). Nuclear X-ray properties of the peculiar radio-loud hidden AGN 4C+29.30. The Astrophysical Journal, 758(2), 90–102. doi: 10.1088/0004-637X/758/2/90

Willingale, R. (1981). Use of the maximum entropy method in X-ray astronomy. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 194(2), 359–364. doi: 10.1093/mnras/194.2.359

Xue, Y. Q., Luo, B., Brandt, W. N., Bauer, F. E., Lehmer, B. D., Broos, P. S., ... Vignali, C. (2011). The Chandra deep field-south survey: 4 Ms source catalogs. The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 195, 10. doi: 10.1088/0067-0049/195/1/10

Creative Commons License
Texts in the journal are –unless otherwise indicated– published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License