Einstein and the Incredible Hulk Now Have Their Own Constellations (But You’ll Never See Them)
Look up at the night sky, and you won’t see Albert Einstein, the Eiffel Tower, or any of the other 21 gamma-ray constellations that NASA recently named
For thousands of years, humans have looked up at the stars and ordered them into constellations: the Hulk … the TARDIS … Schrödinger’s cat.
Not familiar with these? That’s probably because you can’t see them without a gamma-ray telescope — and also, NASA just invented them.
To highlight the first decade of discoveries recorded by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope, U.S. astronomers have connected the dots on the universe’s invisible sources of gamma-ray energy. This allowed the researchers to map 21 brand-new constellations onto the celestial sphere. You won’t see these shapes in the night sky; despite being the universe’s most powerful sources of light, gamma-rays are invisible to human eyes. But you can see the shapes all on a new interactive website crafted by NASA scientists and artist Aurore Simonnet, of Sonoma State University in California. [11 Fascinating Facts About Our Milky Way Galaxy]
“Developing these unofficial constellations was a fun way to highlight a decade of Fermi’s accomplishments,” Julie McEnery, a Fermi project scientist and an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said in a statement. “One way or another, all of the gamma-ray constellations have a tie-in to Fermi science.”