Seeing images of a lifetime, you can more clearly appreciate the physical changes that a person has had, the same thing happens in heaven. The star-studded firmament seems unperturbed by the passage of time, but in reality it always things are happening, stars being born and dying, like people on Earth. This is what reflects a fast motion movie recorded by the NEOWISE spacecraft from NASA.
Using 18 all-sky maps produced by the spacecraft over 10 years of observations, NASA has created a time lapse where it is better priced how stars are born or disappear engulfed by black holes. “If you go out 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.
The WISE mission ended in 2011 when the spacecraft’s coolant ran out, which did not prevent the infrared detectors and other spacecraft components from continuing to function and every six months have been scanning heaven this past decade. In 2013, NASA reused WISE to track asteroids and other near-Earth objects. Renaming the mission as NEOWISE (Near-Earth Object Wide Field Infrared Survey Explorer)
Each map is a great resource for astronomers, but viewed all in fast motion, you can better understand the universe. This constant observation allows us to detect otherwise imperceptible changes in space and reveal information about details that astronomy has not yet fully deciphered, such as star formation.
NEOWISE “can peer into the dusty blankets that envelop protostars, or balls of hot gas that are on their way to becoming stars,” says NASA. Over the years protostars flicker and they light up as they accumulate more mass from the surrounding dust clouds.
Scientists are doing a long-term follow-up of nearly 1,000 protostars with NEOWISE to gain insight into these early stages, but they also record the end of the life of the stars in this mission. The sequence collected over the years shows how some stars are fading, while reflecting as others are engulfed by black holes.
This is another of the studies that is providing the information sent by NEOWISE. Using a technique called echo mapping, scientists can measure the size of the disks of hot, glowing gas that surrounds black holes distant, which are too small and too distant for any telescope to resolve.
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