Chandra X-ray Observatory Shuts Down after Hubble, NASA says it’s a Coincidence

Both Hubble and Chandra went offline just one week.

According to NASA, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory has shut down, going into safe mode just a week after the Hubble Space Telescope suffers the same fate.

However, despite numerous conspiracies theories, NASA has released a statement saying the timing is purely coincidental.

NASA has revealed that Chandra went automatically into safe mode and the culprit is most likely the telescopes gyroscope, coincidentally just like Hubble. NASA has claimed that it is a coincidence that both telescopes went asleep within a week.

Artist illustration of the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Chandra is the most sensitive X-ray telescope ever built. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Artist illustration of the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Chandra is the most sensitive X-ray telescope ever built. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain

“At approximately 1355 GMT on October 10, 2018, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory entered Safe Mode, where the telescope’s instruments are put into a safe configuration, critical hardware is swapped to backup units, the spacecraft points so that the solar panels get maximum sunlight, and the mirrors point away from the Sun,” NASA said in a statement.

“Analysis of available data indicates the transition to safe mode was nominal, i.e., consistent with normal behavior for such an event. All systems functioned as expected and the scientific instruments are safe. The cause of the Safe Mode transition is currently under investigation,” added NASA.

However, this shouldn’t come as a big surprise as both Chandra and Hubble are old.

Hubble has been operational for around 28 years, while Chandra around 19.

Mission specialists are working around the clock to get both observatories back in operation.

Since both observatories went dark, astronomers took the time to joke around a little bit.

Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who works on Chandra tweeted: “Chandra decided that if Hubble could have a little vacation, it wanted one, too.”

Gyroscopes are an essential part in both space telescopes as they help pint the observatories in the right direction.

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