Photographing Where Noone Has Gone Before
When the unmanned Wide-Field Infrared Explorer spacecraft launched into orbit around the Earth a year ago, scientists hoped the craft's infrared-sensitive telescope would return new data about our solar system, the Milky Way, and the Universe. By that measure, the mission has been a success - though much work remains: the larger ambition is to image the entire sky.
To celebrate the project's one-year anniversary, NASA has released a fraction of the nebulae that the craft, commonly referred to as "WISE," has imaged to date.
The camera has a good vantage point: WISE was sent into orbit, hovering "several hundred miles above the dividing line between night and day on Earth," according to NASA. Its telescope points out at right angles to the Sun and always faces away from Earth. The infrared sensitive digital camera gets a workout, taking a picture each 11 seconds. So far, it's taken about 3 million pictures covering the entire sky. You can read more about the WISE mission here.
Popular in SciTech
- Drone technology myths, facts and future feats
- Apple's next iPhone may be coming in June
- Thousands online proclaim: Jahar Tsarnaev is innocent
- Alternatives to Google Reader
- Texting while walking banned in N.J. town
- "God particle": Why the Higgs boson matters
- 40 years later: Why the Endangered Species Act still matters
- Oops! The five greatest scientific blunders