NASA telescope takes 12-year time-lapse movie of entire sky #Space @NASA
Every six months, NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide Field Infrared Survey Explorer, or NEOWISE, spacecraft completes one trip halfway around the Sun, taking images in all directions. Stitched together, those images form an “all-sky” map showing the location and brightness of hundreds of millions of objects. Using 18 all-sky maps produced by the spacecraft (with the 19th and 20th to be released in March 2023), scientists have created what is essentially a time-lapse movie of the sky, revealing changes that span a decade.
Each map is a tremendous resource for astronomers, but when viewed in sequence as a time-lapse, they serve as an even stronger resource for trying to better understand the universe. Comparing the maps can reveal distant objects that have changed position or brightness over time, what’s known as time-domain astronomy.
“If you go outside and look at the night sky, it might seem like nothing ever changes, but that’s not the case,” said Amy Mainzer, principal investigator for NEOWISE at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “Stars are flaring and exploding. Asteroids are whizzing by. Black holes are tearing stars apart. The universe is a really busy, active place.”
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