2023 Author: Bryan Walter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 22:24
NASA has extended the operation of the WISE Space Infrared Telescope until June 2023. He has been in space for almost 12 years and is currently searching for asteroids and comets that may approach Earth, according to the NASA website.
WISE (Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer) was launched into low-Earth orbit on December 14, 2009 and worked as part of the main scientific program until October 2011, exploring distant galaxies, nebulae, brown dwarfs, asteroids, comets and surveying the entire sky. In October 2011, the telescope ran out of hydrogen, used as a refrigerant for scientific instruments, which minimized thermal interference. After that, NASA extended the operation of the telescope in reduced functionality mode (two of the four WISE detectors are involved) within the NEOWISE (Near-Earth Object WISE) program for several months, after which the telescope was put into hibernation mode.
In the fall of 2013, the telescope resumed work on the NEOWISE program, the purpose of which is to search for asteroids and comets, whose trajectories may be near the Earth's orbit. As of March 2021, WISE observed about 39,100 objects throughout the solar system, including the discovery of several hundred new small bodies and estimated the size of more than 1,850 asteroids and comets approaching the Earth. Among the telescope's landmark discoveries is the bright comet C / 2020 F3 (NEOWISE), observed by both ground-based and space telescopes and by astronomy enthusiasts last year.
On June 30, 2021, NASA announced that WISE will continue to operate until June 2023, allowing astronomers to improve the process of finding and determining the basic physical properties of asteroids and comets, such as albedo and diameter. In the future, NEOWISE should be replaced by the NEO Surveyor telescope, which is scheduled to launch into space in 2026.
Earlier, we talked about how astronomers, thanks to WISE data, were able to observe the development of an outbreak of a rare type of young stars - fuor.