Dec
15
2009

WISE off to map the sky

WISE take off: WISE launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
WISE take off: WISE launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base.Courtesy Bill Hartenstein/United Launch Alliance
NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) took off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Maria, CA yesterday morning. WISE will scan the sky in infrared light, picking up the glow of hundreds of millions of objects and producing 1.5 million images, one every 11 seconds. The 10 month mission will create images of 99% of the sky with infrared image detectors that are significantly more sensitive to infrared sky features than the sky surveys of previous major infrared space survey telescopes. WISE Deputy Project Scientist Amy Mainzer says the mission will provide what she calls a "Google map to the universe."

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