Now when you look up at the night sky, you’ll find a handful of superheroes shining down on you thanks to 21 new constellations named by NASA. These new celestial additions have names your young comic fans are sure to recognize.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, the space agency has created some modern unofficial constellations to join the 88 official galactic dot-to-dots that already grace the sky. The newest constellations are inspired by modern day myths with names like Hulk, Godzilla and TARDIS from Doctor Who.

While the traditional constellations are made up of some of the brightest stars, these new modern constellations are based on light sources in the Gamma-ray sky. There are a total of 21 modern constellations that are made up of high-energy light. Sources include debris of supernova explosions and supermassive black holes. Some of the other new constellations include Albert Einstein and the Starship Enterprise.

“By 2015, the number of different sources mapped by Fermi’s Large Area Telescope had expanded to about 3,000 – 10 times the number known before the mission,” said Elizabeth Ferrara, leader of the modern constellation project. “For the first time ever, the number of known gamma-ray sources was comparable to the number of bright stars, so we thought a new set of constellations was a great way to illustrate the point.”


You can check out NASA’s interactive tool to find all the Gamma-ray constellations here.

—Shahrzad Warkentin

Featured photo: Denis Degioanni via Unsplash




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