Chandra Enters Through the Sidedoor (Podcast)

An artist's drawing of a young Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar surrounded by ethereal mathematics symbols appearing to leitate an black hole in his out-stretched hand.
Credit: Smithsonian

Did you know that the Smithsonian has a podcast? It’s called Sidedoor and it gives listeners a behind-the-scenes look into the Smithsonian’s museums and research units. One of those research units is the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, which has run NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory since before launch and continues to control its flight and science operations to this day.

On the latest episode of Sidedoor, Dr. Kimberly Arcand (Chandra’s visualization scientist and emerging tech lead), along with Dr. Priyamvada Natarajan (astrophysicist, and professor at Yale University) and Dr. Arthur I. Miller, (scientist and author), discuss black holes and the connection to Dr. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the namesake of the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Listen to the first installment of this two-part journey through the cosmos at

Episode description:

An artist's impression of a close-up view of the supermassive black.
Illustration of a supermassive black hole.
Credit: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss

Black holes could unlock the mysteries of creation and live at the heart of nearly every galaxy. But these invisible balls of extremely dense matter have never been fully understood, especially when they were only a theory. We travel through a cosmic wormhole back to the 1930s to learn how the first astrophysicist to successfully theorize a black hole, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, was ridiculed and rejected by his scientific community.

This is the first episode of a two-part journey celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's operation of the space telescope.

Be on the lookout for part II on June 5!

Part I (Published May 22, 2024):
Cosmic Journey I: "Stellar Buffoonery"

Part II (Published June 5, 2024):
Cosmic Journey II: Voyage into the Abyss

Disclaimer: This service is provided as a free forum for registered users. Users' comments do not reflect the views of the Chandra X-ray Center and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
Please note this is a moderated blog. No pornography, spam, profanity or discriminatory remarks are allowed. No personal attacks are allowed. Users should stay on topic to keep it relevant for the readers.
Read the privacy statement