Fermi Traces a Celestial Spirograph

February 27, 2013
CreditNASA/DOE/Fermi LAT Collaboration
Historical DateFebruary 27, 2013
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The Vela pulsar outlines a fascinating pattern in this movie showing 51 months of position and exposure data from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope's Large Area Telescope (LAT). The pattern reflects numerous motions of the spacecraft, including its orbit around Earth, the precession of its orbital plane, the manner in which the LAT nods north and south on alternate orbits, and more.