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NASA's WISE delivers millions of galaxies, stars, asteroids


Views of WISE in space. A NASA photo

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA (BNS): Astronomers across the globe can now sift through hundreds of millions of galaxies, stars and asteroids collected in the first bundle of data from Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission, NASA said.

WISE launched into space in December 2009 on a mission to map the entire sky in infrared light. The satellite went into hibernation in early February this year.

It took more than 2.7 million images over the course of its mission, capturing objects ranging from faraway galaxies to asteroids relatively close to Earth.

Today, WISE is taking the first major step in meeting its primary goal of delivering the mission's trove of objects to astronomers.

The mission's nearby discoveries included 20 comets, more than 33,000 asteroids between Mars and Jupiter, and 133 near-Earth objects (NEOs), which are those asteroids and comets with orbits that come within 28 million miles (about 45 million kilometers) of Earth's path around the sun.

Data from the first 57 percent of the sky surveyed is accessible through an online public archive. The complete survey, with improved data processing, will be made available in the spring of 2012, NASA said.

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NASA  WISE  Satellite  

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