Thomas Connor
Chandra X-ray Center at the Center for Astrophysics
Harvard & Smithsonian
Thomas Connor
25 Years of Science with the Chandra X-ray Observatory

April 1, 2024
4:30 p.m.
CW 102 or Zoom
Email for the Zoom address



Abstract: This summer will mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the launch of the Chandra X-ray Observatory, one of NASA's four Great Observatories and one of three Astrophysics Flagship missions currently in operation. With an unprecedented and unparalleled sub-arcsecond angular resolution at X-ray energies (~keV), the capability to perform high-resolution (R~1000) spectroscopy, and with a highly-elliptical orbit enabling long-duration observations with minimal backgrounds, Chandra has been a workhorse for X-ray astronomy. Over the lifetime of the mission, Chandra observations have transformed our understanding of the cosmos, from the Solar System to the early Universe, stellar atmospheres to dark matter, and the inner regions of black hole accretion to the Cosmic Web. In this talk, I will tell the story of Chandra, from its origins through launch, and describe the scientific highlights that have accumulated over the past quarter-century.


Thomas Connor is an astrophysicist in the Chandra X-ray Center at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian. Dr. Connor is an expert in the X-ray observations of the earliest quasars, and his research focuses on how such massive objects can form and grow in such short time scales -- billions of Solar masses only hundreds of Myr after the Big Bang. Prior to arriving at the CfA, Thomas was a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow at JPL & Caltech and a postdoctoral fellow at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science, and he earned his PhD from Michigan State University with a thesis on statistical background light measurements to enable crowded field photometry.