Fermi Traces a Celestial Spirograph – NASA

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A Fermi Gamma Ray Telescope scientist has transformed data from a famous pulsar, Vela, into a mesmerizing movie that visually encapsulates the spacecraft’s complex motion.

Vela, shines especially bright for Fermi. It spins 11 times a second and is the brightest persistent source of gamma rays the wide-eyed Large Area Telescope (LAT)  sees.

The movie renders Vela’s position in a fisheye perspective, where the middle of the pattern corresponds to the central and most sensitive portion of the LAT’s field of view. The edge of the pattern is 90 degrees away from the center and well beyond what scientists regard as the effective limit of the LAT’s vision. The movie tracks both Vela’s position relative to the center of the LAT’s field of view and the instrument’s exposure of the pulsar during the first 51 months of Fermi’s mission, from Aug. 4, 2008, to Nov. 15, 2012

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