Twinkle, twinkle little blazar

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The other day I came across this cool movie from the high-energy gamma-ray satellite Fermi (formally known as GLAST, which is still confusing me). It shows blazars around the galactic north pole varying over the course of a year. A blazar is a type of radio-loud AGN, in which the jet is pointed directly at us (as shown in this previous post), so we see them as very energetic, highly variable things.

The movie repeats from halfway through with well-known (well, well-known to a very small group of people anyway) blazars labelled. Incidentally, I was looking at this at work earlier and couldn’t figure out what the mysterious object is that can be seen moving from top to bottom. After a lot of head scratching (and I have to admit, googling) I realised that I’m an idiot and it’s the Sun. In my defence I normally deal with things a little bit further away!

There’s another version of the movie here (or here) with that and other interesting things, like the positions of constellations, labelled.

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