WISE Catalog Just Got Wiser
NASA’s WISE mission has released a new and improved atlas and catalog brimming with data on three-quarters of a billion objects detected during two full scans of the sky.
WISE, which stands for Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, scanned the entire sky in infrared light in 2010, snapping a dozen pictures of every star and galaxy. By October of that year, the spacecraft ran out of the coolant needed to chill some of its heat-seeking detectors. NASA then decided to fund a second scan of the sky to look for asteroids and comets, in a project called NEOWISE.
But the images from that second sky scan were designed to catch moving asteroids, not stars and galaxies. Now NASA has funded a project called AllWISE to stack up all the WISE images, including those from the second sky scan, thereby doubling exposure times and making new stars and galaxies visible.