The animation depicts X-ray stars, supernova remnants, active galactic nuclei, and quasars on a map of the entire sky, using the plane of our galaxy as the center line. Most of the X-ray stars and other objects are pinpoints, just like visible stars. But to better illustrate variations in brightness, the animation shows these objects as colored circles. Larger circles represent brighter objects. The color of the circle is the "X-ray color:" Blue generally represents higher-temperature gases and red represents lower-temperature gases.
This clip depicts the x-ray sky from March 2, 1996 through May 11, 1996; and then again from August 26, 1996 through October 15, 1996. This clip shows a number of variable x-ray objects near the center of our galaxy. It also points out two steady x-ray sources: the Crab Nebula and the supernova remnant in Cassiopeia A. Most of the activity lies along the galactic plane.