Feeds

NASA's WISE opens 'candy store of images'

Galaxies and comet pose in the infrared

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.