The Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility. AXAF was renamed Chandra X-ray Observatory,CXO, and launched in July 1999.
The AXAF-I mission will develop and place into orbit a telescope for capturing high-resolution images and spectra of X-ray sources. Its imaging observations will produce "picture-like" images analogous to those made in visible light with an optical telescope. It uses optics and detectors which are sensitive to X-rays to capture images of astronomical phenomena characterized by very high temperatures. AXAF-I's capabilities in the area of X-ray spectroscopy will complement its imaging function. Spectra, or spectrographs, reveal the temperature and "chemical fingerprint" of an object by separating the radiation received from it according to wavelength, much as a prism splits visible light into constituent colors. AXAF-I will utilize the high resolution of the AXAF mirrors to produce spectra at X-ray wavelengths of detailed features within X- ray radiating objects.