NICER’s Night Moves Trace the X-ray Sky

On a black background are a network of orange filaments connecting a number of bright spots. The bright spots indicate places where the filaments cross, and are sources in the sky where NICER often points its telescope. The swirling loops between those points reveal the path NICER’s telescope takes between these sources.
Historical DateMay 30, 2019
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This image of the whole sky shows 22 months of X-ray data recorded by NASA's Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) payload aboard the International Space Station during its nighttime slews between targets. NICER frequently observes targets best suited to its core mission (“mass-radius” pulsars) and those whose regular pulses are ideal for the Station Explorer for X-ray Timing and Navigation Technology (SEXTANT) experiment. One day they could form the basis of a GPS-like system for navigating the solar system.