Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2006 May 31
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Simulated Gamma-ray Sky
Credit: GLAST DC2

Explanation: Scheduled for launch in 2007, the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) will explore the Universe in gamma-rays, the most energetic form of light. To get ready, consider this dynamic gamma-ray sky animation - constructed from simulating the first 55 days (seen above at one frame per day) of GLAST observations of cosmic gamma-ray sources. The all-sky view is projected in an astronomical (RA-Dec) coordinate system that shows the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy as a broad U-shape, with the centre of the galaxy toward the right. So what shines in this gamma-ray sky? Besides the diffuse Milky Way glow, astronomers testing their skills on the simulated data have found flaring active galaxies, pulsars, gamma-ray bursts, the flaring Sun, and of course, the gamma-ray Moon.

Tomorrow's picture: open space

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
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