Optical EngineeringChandra x-ray optics
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Significant advances in science always occur when the state of the art in instrumentation improves dramatically. NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory represents such an advance. Launched in July of 1999, Chandra is an observatory designed to study the x-ray emission from all categories of astronomical objects-from comets, planets, and normal stars to quasars, galaxies, and clusters of galaxies. At the heart of this observatory is the precision x-ray optic that has been vital for Chandra's outstanding success and that features an angular resolution improved by an order of magnitude compared to its forerunners. The Chandra mission is now entering its thirteenth year of operation, which, given that the observatory was designed for a minimum of three years of operation, testifies to its robust and carefully thought-out design. We review the design and construction of the remarkable telescope, present examples of its usage for astronomy and astrophysics, and speculate on its future.