Tags: nasa | constellations | the hulk

NASA's 21 New Constellations Include the Incredible Hulk

(YouTube/USA Today)

By    |   Monday, 22 October 2018 08:49 AM

NASA scientists had some fun when they named 21 new gamma-ray constellations in celebration of the agency’s Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope last week, drawing inspiration from comic book characters and famous landmarks.

Among the new constellations are Tardis from “Doctor Who,” Godzilla, the antimatter-powered U.S.S. Enterprise from “Star Trek: The Original Series” and even the Hulk, NASA said.

Any comic book fan knows the backstory of the Hulk and his alter ego Dr. Bruce Banner, who experimented with gamma rays until things went horribly wrong, which is why the Hulk reference makes sense. But what about the other quirky names?

“Developing these unofficial constellations was a fun way to highlight a decade of Fermi’s accomplishments,” said Julie McEnery, the Fermi project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “One way or another, all of the gamma-ray constellations have a tie-in to Fermi science.”

Gamma rays are the strongest form of light, NASA explained.

Fermi’s Large Area Telescope can see the lowest-energy gamma rays, which carry more than six million times the energy of the bluest visible light, and the highest-energy gamma rays with energies tens of millions of times greater than this.

Since 2008, Fermi’s LAT has been mapping and measuring sources of gamma rays in the sky that are emitted from pulsars, nova outbursts, debris of supernova explosions, supermassive black holes, gamma-ray bubbles and gamma-ray bursts.

By 2015, LAT had mapped 3,000 different gamma-ray sources, prompting scientist to name a new set of constellations.

In addition to the modern mythical characters, the 21 gamma-ray constellations include landmarks such as the Washington Monument and Mount Fuji in Japan, as well as scientific ideas such as Schrödinger’s Cat.

These constellations are all showcased in a web-based interactive that features a map of the whole gamma-ray sky from Fermi.

“Fermi is still going strong, and we are now preparing a new all-sky LAT catalog,” said Jean Ballet, a Fermi team member at the French Atomic Energy Commission in Saclay, in a statement. “This will add about 2,000 sources, many varying greatly in brightness, further enriching these constellations and enlivening the high-energy sky!”

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NASA scientists had some fun when they named 21 new gamma-ray constellations in celebration of the agency’s Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope last week, drawing inspiration from comic book characters and famous landmarks.
nasa, constellations, the hulk
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2018-49-22
Monday, 22 October 2018 08:49 AM
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