Feeds

NASA's WISE opens 'candy store of images'

Galaxies and comet pose in the infrared

Top three mobile application threats

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has dispatched to Earth its first full-fat photos following a calibration shot released in early January.

WISE principal investigator, Edward Wright of UCLA, enthused: "We've got a candy store of images coming down from space. Everyone has their favorite flavors, and we've got them all."

Among the flavours on offer is this fetching snap of the Andromeda galaxy, captured by the spacecraft's "longest-wavelength infrared detectors", with 12-micron light shown here as orange, and 22-micron light as red:

Andromeda at 12 and 22 microns. Pic: NASA

If you don't like that flavour, try this image of Andromeda posing at 3.4 microns:

Andromeda at 3.4 microns. Pic: NASA

NASA explains: "A pronounced warp in the disk of the galaxy, the aftermath of a collision with another galaxy, can be clearly seen in the spiral arm to the upper left side of the galaxy."

WISE has also grabbed comet Siding Spring (full image details here) and its tail stretching "about 10 million miles":

Comet Siding Spring. Pic: NASA

Ed Weiler, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, said: "WISE has worked superbly. These first images are proving the spacecraft's secondary mission of helping to track asteroids, comets and other stellar objects will be just as critically important as its primary mission of surveying the entire sky in infrared."

At an operating altitude of 525km, WISE will pass over the poles 15 times a day taking a picture every 11 seconds through its 40-cm (16-inch) telescope. It will eventually deliver around 1,500,000 images of the heavens "with a sensitivity hundreds of times greater than ever before".

NASA expects to snap "millions of hidden objects, including asteroids, 'failed' stars and powerful galaxies". The data will offer "navigation charts for other missions, such as NASA's Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes, pointing them to the most interesting targets the mission finds".

NASA's WISE spacecraft. Pic: NASA

WISE's instruments operate in a frozen-hydrogen-filled cryostat (above), which ensures they're kept chilled as low as 8 Kelvin, preventing the spacecraft's own infrared emissions interfering with observations. The mission is expected to end in around October 2010, when the hydrogen finally evaporates away.

The main WISE page is here, the mission overview here, and further spacecraft details are here. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.