NASA Telescope Takes  12-Year Time-Lapse Movie of Entire Sky

NASA Telescope Takes  12-Year Time-Lapse Movie of Entire Sky

Source: NASA

Pictures of the sky can show us cosmic wonders; movies can bring them to life.  Movies from NASA’s NEOWISE space telescope are revealing motion and change across the sky.

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. 

“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.”

NEOWISE was originally a data processing project to retrieve asteroid detections and characteristics from WISE – an observatory launched in 2009 and tasked with scanning the entire sky to find and study objects outside our solar system.

The spacecraft used cryogenically cooled detectors that made them sensitive to infrared light. Not visible to the human eye, infrared light is radiated by a plethora of cosmic objects, including cool, nearby stars and some of the most luminous galaxies in the universe.