From its launch in 2009, the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory was a busy little satellite. Over its lifetime it made over 37,000 scientific observations — and this video shows them all, condensed into less than one minute.
Created by Pedro Gómez-Alvarez in the Herschel Science Centre Community Support Group, the animation runs from the observatory's launch, on May 14, 2009, until it was retired on April 29, 2013. ESA explains what you can see:
Running through the centre of the graphic is the 'ecliptic plane' tracing the paths of the planets with respect to Herschel's viewpoint from its orbit around L2, which is located 1.5 million kilometres behind the Earth as viewed from the Sun. A horseshoe shape marks the Galactic Plane, the direction in which much of the Milky Way's mass lies, and where many of Herschel's observations were focused.
Herschel managed to observe almost a tenth of the entire sky, for over 23,500 hours, during its time in service. It provided views of the universe never seen before, showing us star births, galaxy formations and tracing the existence of water through the universe. Well done, Herschel. [ESA]