NASA has released a new atlas and catalog of the entire infrared sky with more than a half billion stars and galaxies many of which have never been seen before.
Scientists used the images taken by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission, which was launched in 2009.
“Today, WISE delivers the fruit of 14 years of effort to the astronomical community,” said Edward Wright, WISE principal investigator at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
WISE mapped the entire sky in 2010 and collected more than 2.7 million images that provided scientists with more than 15 trillion bytes of data.
Astronomers analyzed the data and then combined them into an atlas of more than 18,000 images and a catalog of the properties of more than 560 million individual objects.
The new observations have helped astronomers and scientists discover a poll of near-Earth asteroids, new classes of stars as well as the first known “Trojan” asteroid.
“With the release of the all-sky catalog and atlas, WISE joins the pantheon of great sky surveys that have led to many remarkable discoveries about the universe,” said lead WISE data processing expert Roc Cutri.
“It will be exciting and rewarding to see the innovative ways the science and educational communities will use WISE in their studies now that they have the data at their fingertips.”
Scientists have so far published about 100 study papers on the results of the new observations.
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