The night sky in X-rays: a stunning image reveals the swirling observations of NASA's neutron star tracking instrument on the ISS
- New image released by NASA contains data from 22 months observation by the NICER instrument on ISS
- Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) focuses and follows cosmic sources during the ISS trajectories
- Arches and light spots in the image are the result of the path that NICER follows and the most popular path is the most popular
A striking new image released by NASA this week shows the night sky as seen by the Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER), an instrument aboard the International Space Station.
NICER has spent about the last two years tracking the cosmic springs it encounters while the station revolves around the earth – a journey that takes just 93 minutes.
The incredible image shows the data from the first 22 months of use, tracing x-rays and areas of collisions with high energy particles.
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A striking new image released by NASA this week shows the night sky as seen by the Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER), an instrument aboard the International Space Station. NICER has spent approximately the last two years tracking the cosmic sources
The NICER instrument from NASA is designed to target cosmic sources. & # 39; At night, the detectors continue to operate and can collect data if it is repeatedly passed through these clear sources.
According to the space agency, the arches and light spots in the image are the result of the path that NICER follows and form radiant clusters at the most popular destinations.
These are the x-ray sources that are considered more important, and these will be visited more often.
Some goals can be visited no less than eight times per job.
An annotated version of the image shows that NICER has observed everything from mists and supernovas to pulsars and binary files with black holes.
An annotated version of the image shows that NICER has observed everything from mists and supernovas to pulsars and black hole binaries
& # 39; Even with minimal processing, this image reveals the Cygnus loop, a supernova remnant of about 90 light years and thought to be 5,000 to 8,000 years old & # 39 ;, says Keith Gendreau, the principal investigator of the mission at the Goddard Space Flight Center of NASA.
& # 39; We are gradually building a new X-ray image of the entire sky, and it is possible that NICER's night sweeps may discover previously unknown sources. & # 39;
According to NASA, the instrument mainly works on studying neutron stars. These are the dense remains of dead stars, and scientists could better understand what's in their nuclei.
NICER is also leading an experiment that works like & # 39; essentially a galactic GPS system & # 39 ;, says the space agency.
This experiment, called Station Explorer for X-ray timing and navigation technology (SEXTANT), uses the timing of pulsar X-ray pulses to determine where NICER is at a given time and how fast it is.
WHAT ARE PULSARS?
Pulsars are essentially rotating, highly magnetized neutron stars.
These stars are made from matter that is packed much denser than normal and that gives the entire star a density similar to an atomic nucleus.
The diameter of our sun would shrink to less than 18 miles if it were that close.
These neutron stars also have extremely strong magnetic fields that accelerate charged particles.
These radiate radiation into a cone-shaped beam that floats across the sky like the light of a lighthouse while the star revolves.
When the beam floats over the earth, it becomes visible as a pulsar, producing light that cycles every few seconds to just a few milliseconds.
Their rotation period is so stable that some astronomers use it to calibrate instruments and have suggested using it to synchronize clocks.
British astronomer Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell was the first person to discover a pulsar in 1967 when she saw a radio pulsar.
Since then, other types of pulsars have been observed that radiate x-rays and gamma rays.
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