Copyright 2012 Robert Clark
The WISE mission has released all the images taken during the duration of the mission:
NASA Releases New WISE Mission Catalog of Entire Infrared Sky.
"Today, WISE delivers the fruit of 14 years of effort to the astronomical community," said Edward Wright, WISE principal investigator at UCLA, who first began working on the mission with other team members in 1998.
WISE launched Dec. 14, 2009, and mapped the entire sky in 2010 with vastly better sensitivity than its predecessors. It collected more than 2.7 million images taken at four infrared wavelengths of light, capturing everything from nearby asteroids to distant galaxies. Since then, the team has been processing more than 15 trillion bytes of returned data. A preliminary release of WISE data, covering the first half of the sky surveyed, was made last April.
The WISE catalog of the entire sky meets the mission's fundamental objective. The individual WISE exposures have been combined into an atlas of more than 18,000 images covering the sky and a catalog listing the infrared properties of more than 560 million individual objects found in the images. Most of the objects are stars and galaxies, with roughly equal numbers of each. Many of them have never been seen before.
WISE Delivers Millions of Galaxies, Stars, Asteroids.
Astronomers across the globe can now sift through hundreds of millions of galaxies, stars and asteroids collected in the first bundle of data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission.
"Starting today thousands of new eyes will be looking at WISE data, and I expect many surprises," said Edward (Ned) Wright of UCLA, the mission's principal investigator.
The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer
All-Sky Data Release
March 14, 2012
The WISE mission has made many important discoveries:
WISE Finds Few Brown Dwarfs Close to Home.
June 08, 2012
WISE was launched in 2009 and surveyed the entire sky in infrared light in 2010. One of the mission's main science goals was to survey the sky for the elusive brown dwarfs. These small bodies start their lives like stars, but lack the bulk required to burn nuclear fuel. With time, they cool and fade, making them difficult to find.
Improvements in WISE's infrared vision over past missions have allowed it to pick up the faint glow of many of these hidden objects. In August 2011, the mission announced the discovery of the coolest brown dwarfs spotted yet, a new class of stars called Y dwarfs. One of the Y dwarfs is less than 80 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius), or about room temperature, making it the coldest star-like body known. Since then, the WISE science team has surveyed the entire landscape around our sun and discovered 200 brown dwarfs, including 13 Y dwarfs.
NASA Survey Counts Potentially Hazardous Asteroids.
May 16, 2012
PASADENA, Calif. -- Observations from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) have led to the best assessment yet of our solar system's population of potentially hazardous asteroids. The results reveal new information about their total numbers, origins and the possible dangers they may pose.
Potentially hazardous asteroids, or PHAs, are a subset of the larger group of near-Earth asteroids. The PHAs have the closest orbits to Earth's, coming within five million miles (about eight million kilometers), and they are big enough to survive passing through Earth's atmosphere and cause damage on a regional, or greater, scale.
The new results come from the asteroid-hunting portion of the WISE mission, called NEOWISE. The project sampled 107 PHAs to make predictions about the entire population as a whole. Findings indicate there are roughly 4,700 PHAs, plus or minus 1,500, with diameters larger than 330 feet (about 100 meters). So far, an estimated 20 to 30 percent of these objects have been found.
While previous estimates of PHAs predicted similar numbers, they were rough approximations. NEOWISE has generated a more credible estimate of the objects' total numbers and sizes.
"The NEOWISE analysis shows us we've made a good start at finding those objects that truly represent an impact hazard to Earth," said Lindley Johnson, program executive for the Near-Earth Object Observation Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "But we've many more to find, and it will take a concerted effort during the next couple of decades to find all of them that could do serious damage or be a mission destination in the future."
in addition to the searches for nomad planets and hypothesized planets at the edge of the Solar System:
Can WISE Find the Hypothetical 'Tyche'?
February 18, 2011
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: When could data from WISE confirm or rule out the existence of the hypothesized planet Tyche?
A: It is too early to know whether WISE data confirms or rules out a large object in the Oort cloud. Analysis over the next couple of years will be needed to determine if WISE has actually detected such a world or not. The first 14 weeks of data, being released in April 2011, are unlikely to be sufficient. The full survey, scheduled for release in March 2012, should provide greater insight. Once the WISE data are fully processed, released and analyzed, the Tyche hypothesis that Matese and Whitmire propose will be tested.
With the release of the image database, to help with the search for brown drawfs, potentially harmful asteroids, nomad planets, and extreme Solar System planets I recommend the use of distributed computing such as that used for the Seti@Home project to allow potentially millions of people to take part in the searches. With the great interest in the public in extraterrestrial life and possible Earth impacting asteroids, and with the possibility of discovering a new Solar System planet, there very likely would be a great deal of interest in such a project.
And with asteroid mining ventures needing to find high value asteroids nearby, they could offer prizes, i.e., rewards, for those users who happened to find them.