A bird's eye view of the entire sky was what NASA aimed at presenting when it released a bewildering photo on Thursday showing a tangle of criss-cross bright yellow arcs crossing each other to create a massive web with numerous luminous points on the dark black canvas - the sky.
Teasing what could be the possible guesses to the picture, NASA, on Thursday, shared the mosaic of sweeping arcs explaining that it was a map of the entire sky in X-Rays.
Explaining the image captured by NASA’s Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER), a payload on the International Space Station, NASA has explained what each arc and each bright spot represented.
"The map includes data from the first 22 months of NICER’s science operations. Each arc traces X-rays, as well as occasional strikes from energetic particles, captured during NICER’s night moves. The brightness of each point in the image is a result of these contributions as well as the time NICER has spent looking in that direction. A diffuse glow permeates the X-ray sky even far from bright sources," states NASA.
Explaining why there were a very large number of criss-cross arcs at some places, NASA states:
"The prominent arcs form because NICER often follows the same paths between targets. The arcs converge on bright spots representing NICER’s most popular destinations — the locations of important X-ray sources the mission regularly monitors."
Speaking about the scope of the project NICER was undertaking named Station Explorer for X-ray Timing and Navigation Technology (SEXTANT),NASA claims that by observing these X-ray pulses to determine NICER's position and peed in space, the technology when mature, will act as a galactic GPS enabling spacecraft to navigate themselves throughout the solar system — and beyond.
Unfortunately, this is currently only seen in sci-fi movies like Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy to name a few.