Video: gamma ray data is mesmerising

Gamma Ray Visualization
Credit: Via io9

Studying high-energy radiation doesn't sound very artsy, but it's amazing how scientific data can be transformed into something beautiful and fascinating when manipulated by the right hands. In this case it's NASA's Goddard Visualization team, turning data from the Fermi Gamma-ray Space telescope into what looks like an animated spirograph.

The Fermi Telescope is in low Earth orbit and uses the Large Area Telescope (LAT) to scan the Universe every three hours taking in high-energy radiation data from things like the Vesla pulsar. Though not the only source of radiation the LAT records in the cosmos, Vesla is the brightest and most persistent source of gamma rays - perfect for the visualisation exercise.

The video below, created by NASA's Visualization team, takes 51 months of both the LAT position and exposure data on the Vesla pulsar. Taking into account the telescope's orbit around the Earth, its orbital plane and the north-south sweep of its view, the result is a circular dance that looks like animated spirograph art.

The exercise proves that data, when viewed in different ways can be a beautiful thing - and we wouldn't be surprised if it's spied as the latest screensaver on some NASA computer screens.

Via, Notcot