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Latest Infrared Space Observatory Stories

WISE Catches Cosmic Dust Bunny
2012-04-27 03:13:54

Images from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) reveal an old star in the throes of a fiery outburst, spraying the cosmos with dust. The findings offer a rare, real-time look at the process by which stars like our sun seed the universe with building blocks for other stars, planets and even life. The star, catalogued as WISE J180956.27-330500.2, was discovered in images taken during the WISE survey in 2010, the most detailed infrared survey to date of the entire celestial sky....

Image 1 - Collisions Not Needed For Star Formation
2011-09-13 09:46:39

  ESA's Herschel infrared space observatory has discovered that galaxies do not need to collide with each other to drive vigorous star birth. The finding overturns this long-held assumption and paints a more stately picture of how galaxies evolve. The conclusion is based on Herschel's observations of two patches of sky, each about a third of the size of the full Moon. It's like looking through a keyhole across the Universe — Herschel has seen more than a thousand galaxies...

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2010-08-11 08:15:00

Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer Mission Status NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, is warming up. Team members say the spacecraft is running out of the frozen coolant needed to keep its heat-sensitive instrument chilled. The telescope has two coolant tanks that keep the spacecraft's normal operating temperature at 12 Kelvin (minus 438 degrees Fahrenheit). The outer, secondary tank is now depleted, causing the temperature to increase. One of WISE's infrared detectors, the...

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2010-06-10 07:43:47

Yesterday in Paris, ESA's Herschel and Planck science missions were honored by the French Association for Aeronautics and Astronautics. The association's Grand Prix 2010 award for "outstanding space endeavors" was bestowed upon these groundbreaking missions. Every year, the French Association for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AAAF) dedicates awards to those who have demonstrated true success and made significant advances. This year, the teams responsible for ESA's Herschel and Planck...

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2010-05-06 10:26:53

The discovery of a previously unresolved population of galaxies in the GOODS fields and the first measurements of properties of galaxies in the almost unexplored far-infrared domain are among the first exciting scientific results achieved by Herschel's PACS and SPIRE instruments. These findings confirm the extraordinary capabilities of ESA's new infrared space observatory to investigate the formation and evolution of galaxies. These are some of the many discoveries presented this week at the...

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2010-05-06 07:40:00

The first scientific results from ESA's Herschel infrared space observatory are revealing previously hidden details of star formation. New images show thousands of distant galaxies furiously building stars and beautiful star-forming clouds draped across the Milky Way. One picture even catches an "Ëœimpossible' star in the act of formation. Presented today during a major scientific symposium held at the European Space Agency (ESA), the results challenge old ideas of star birth, and...

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2010-02-19 09:15:16

Dark energy, habitable planets around other stars, and the mysterious nature of our own Sun, have been chosen by ESA as candidates for two medium-class missions to be launched no earlier than 2017. On Thursday February 18, ESA's Science Program Committee (SPC) approved three missions to enter the so-called definition phase. This is the next step required before the final decision is taken as to which missions are implemented. The three proposals chosen to proceed are Euclid, PLAnetary...

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2009-12-23 06:50:00

All systems are behaving as expected on NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), which rocketed into the sky just before dawn on Dec. 14 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The mission will undergo a one-month checkout before beginning the most detailed survey yet of the entire sky in infrared light. Hundreds of millions of objects will populate its vast catalog, including dark asteroids, the closest "failed" stars and tremendously energetic galaxies. Shortly after the...

2009-12-09 08:00:00

PALO ALTO, Calif., Dec. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) - scheduled for launch on Dec. 11, 2009 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. - will scan the entire sky in infrared light, picking up the glow of hundreds of millions of objects and producing millions of images. Two Thermos-like annular tanks filled with solid hydrogen, called a dual-stage cryostat, built by the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company (NYSE: LMT) Advanced Technology Center (ATC) in...

2009-05-18 13:23:11

The U.S. space agency says its Spitzer Space Telescope is out of the coolant used to chill its infrared instruments and has entered a warm mode of operation. After more than five years of searching the cosmos, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration says Spitzer will warm up slightly, with only two of its infrared detector arrays operating. Spitzer ran out of its liquid helium coolant at 6:11 p.m. EDT Friday. Scientists and engineers will spend the next few weeks recalibrating the...