Blinking object

I’m new to this platform. I was viewing this portion of the sky and I noticed an object (or some glitch) that seems to blink. The Gaia catalog contains two neighbouring objects flanking the “blinking thing”… What could it be?


Barely visible in PanSTARRS

Not in SDSS or DECaLS footprint

NED has Infrared Source nearby

I don’t know, anyone else?


I browsed around a bit, and it seems that there are a lot of those blinking smudges. They don’t seem to have any regularity in where they appear, so they can’t be, for example, lens reflections. (The WISE/unWISE lens flares look a bit like these.)

WISE/unWISE lens flare:

Also in the DR8 footprint area DR8 images show nothing.

The unWISE models really seem to enhance these things a lot.

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This is cool! Here are cutouts from the original unWISE survey, followed by neo2, neo4, and neo6 – so adding in more and more, later and later data. It looks almost like it’s an expanding shell. Planetary nebula or something? Too bad we don’t have any deeper optical coverage!

1 2 3 4

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Ahhh, diagnosed by Aaron Meisner, the time-domain WISE boss.
It’s a latent image from a bright star, which is why it only appears in every second of the time-resolved epochs – north-going vs south-going.


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