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Latest Amy Mainzer Stories

In Mid-March Comet PANSTARRS Rises To The Occasion
2013-03-08 10:35:02

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Comets visible to the naked eye are a rare delicacy in the celestial smorgasbord of objects in the nighttime sky. Scientists estimate that the opportunity to see one of these icy dirtballs advertising their cosmic presence so brilliantly they can be seen without the aid of a telescope or binoculars happens only once every five to 10 years. That said, there may be two naked-eye comets available for your viewing pleasure this year. "You might have heard of...

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2011-06-02 06:30:00

Ancient astronomers looked up at the dark skies in wonder, as the stars marched by overhead like precision dancers. In the early 17th century, Galileo Galilei brought the world one step closer to the heavens with his telescope, discovering, among other celestial marvels, moons around Jupiter, and our own moon's pockmarked surface. Nowadays, the stars are closer to us than ever, thanks to powerful telescopes in space and on the ground. Modern astronomers don't have to step outside, because...

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2010-11-10 06:40:00

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has eyed its first cool brown dwarf: a tiny, ultra-cold star floating all alone in space. WISE is scanning the whole sky in infrared light, picking up the glow of not just brown dwarfs but also asteroids, stars and galaxies. It has sent millions of images down to Earth, in which infrared light of different wavelengths is color-coded in the images. "The brown dwarfs jump out at you like big, fat, green emeralds," said Amy Mainzer, the deputy...

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2010-02-12 07:30:00

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has discovered its first comet, one of many the mission is expected to find among millions of other objects during its ongoing survey of the whole sky in infrared light. Officially named "P/2010 B2 (WISE)," but known simply as WISE, the comet is a dusty mass of ice more than 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) in diameter. It probably formed around the same time as our solar system, about 4.5 billion years ago. Comet WISE started out in the cold, dark...

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2009-12-14 08:15:00

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission launched successfully at 9:09am EST today. After a one-month checkout, the mission will spend the next nine months mapping the cosmos in infrared light. It will cover the whole sky one-and-a-half times, snapping millions of pictures of everything from near-Earth asteroids to faraway galaxies bursting with new stars. "The last time we mapped the whole sky at these particular infrared wavelengths was 26 years ago," said Edward (Ned)...

2009-11-11 07:42:44

NASA will hold a media briefing on Tuesday, Nov. 17, at noon EST, to discuss the upcoming launch of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, mission. WISE is scheduled to launch Dec. 7, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Once in Earth orbit, WISE will scan the entire sky at infrared wavelengths, unveiling hundreds of thousands of asteroids and hundreds of millions of stars and galaxies. The briefing will take place in the James E. Webb Memorial Auditorium at NASA...

2009-06-11 14:08:21

The U.S. space agency says its Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer called WISE is undergoing final preparations for a planned Nov. 1 launch. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration mission, to lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, will survey the entire sky at infrared wavelengths to create a cosmic clearinghouse of hundreds of millions of objects. Most of the sky has never been imaged at these infrared wavelengths with this kind of sensitivity, said Edward Wright,...

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2009-06-10 15:30:30

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has been assembled and is undergoing final preparations for a planned Nov. 1 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The mission will survey the entire sky at infrared wavelengths, creating a cosmic clearinghouse of hundreds of millions of objects -- everything from the most luminous galaxies, to the nearest stars, to dark and potentially hazardous asteroids. The survey will be the most detailed to date in infrared light, with a...


Word of the Day
reremouse
  • A bat.
The word 'reremouse' comes from Middle English reremous, from Old English hrēremūs, hrērmūs ("bat"), equivalent to rear (“to move, shake, stir”) +‎ mouse.
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