NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, is a little like the Vincent van Gogh of the infrared sky. Just like the famous Impressionist painter created beautiful images of nature through use of color and light, WISE has provided the world with picturesque images of the cosmos by representing infrared light through color. This image of the nebula NGC 2174, on the border of the Gemini and Orion constellations, is a perfect example.
April 25th, 2011
NGC 300 is a textbook spiral galaxy. In fact, it is such a good representation of a spiral galaxy that astronomers have studied it in great detail to learn about the structure of all spirals in general. Infrared images like this one from WISE show astronomers where areas of gas and warm dust are concentrated -- features that cannot be seen in visible light.
December 14th, 2010
This mosaic image taken by NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, features three nebulae that are part of the giant Orion Molecular Cloud. The image covers an area of the sky about three times as high and wide as the full moon (1.5 by 1.8 degrees). Included in this view are the Flame nebula, the Horsehead nebula and NGC 2023.
December 2nd, 2010
This image from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, highlights the Andromeda galaxy's older stellar population in blue. It was taken by the shortest-wavelength camera on WISE, which detects infrared light of 3.4 microns.
February 17th, 2010
NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, captured this colorful image of the reflection nebula IRAS 12116-6001. This cloud of interstellar dust cannot be seen directly in visible light, but WISEs detectors observed the nebula at infrared wavelengths.
October 27th, 2010
M104 is also known as the Sombrero galaxy. Although M104 is classified as a spiral galaxy, it has a very different appearance than NGC 300. In part, this is because the dusty, star-forming spiral disk in M104 is seen nearly edge-on from our point of view.
December 14th, 2010
This visible-light image is from the Digitized Sky Survey, based at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md. The object, NGC 1514 is actually a pair of stars -- one star is a dying giant somewhat heavier and hotter than our sun, and the other was an even larger star that has now contracted into a dense body called a white dwarf.
November 17th, 2010
NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, captured this view of a runaway star racing away from its original home. Seen here surrounded by a glowing cloud of gas and dust, the star AE Aurigae appears to be on fire. Appropriately, the cloud is called the Flaming Star Nebula.
November 23rd, 2010
This particular object, named "WISEPC J045853.90+643451.9" after its location in the sky, is the first ultra-cool brown dwarf discovered by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. WISE is scanning the skies in infrared light, picking up the signatures of all sort of cosmic gems, including brown dwarfs.
November 9th, 2010
This image shows a puffy, dying star, or planetary nebula, known as NGC 1514. The object is actually a pair of stars -- one star is a dying giant somewhat heavier and hotter than our sun, and the other was an even larger star that has now contracted into a dense body called a white dwarf.
November 17th, 2010
WISE's large field of view and multi-wavelength infrared sight allowed it to form this complete view of the cluster, containing dozens of bright galaxies and hundreds of smaller ones. Old stars show up at the shorter infrared wavelengths, color coded blue. Dust heated by new generations of stars lights up at longer infrared wavelengths, colored red here.
February 17th, 2010
The red-colored object in this new infrared image from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) is a sphere of stellar innards, blown out from a humongous star called V385 Carinae. The star (white dot in center of red ring) is one of the most massive stellar residents of our Milky Way Galaxy.
June 17th, 2010
This image from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, highlights the dust that speckles the Andromeda galaxy's spiral arms. It shows light seen by the longest-wavelength infrared detectors on WISE (12-micron light has been color coded orange, and 22-micron light, red).
February 17th, 2010
The Heart and Soul nebulae are seen in this infrared mosaic from NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. The image covers an area of the sky over ten times as wide as the full moon, and eight times as high (5.5 x 3.9 degrees), in the constellation Cassiopeia.
May 24th, 2010
This WISE mosaic is of the Soul Nebula (a.k.a. the Embryo Nebula, IC 1848, or W5). It is an open cluster of stars surrounded by a cloud of dust and gas over 150 light-years across and located about 6,500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cassiopeia, near the Heart Nebula (partially seen in the WISE image of Maffei 1 & 2).
April 2nd, 2010
This infrared snapshot of a region in the constellation Carina near the Milky Way was taken shortly after NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) ejected its cover. The "first-light" picture shows thousands of stars and covers an area three times the size of the Moon.
January 6th, 2010
This colorful image from WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) is a view of an area of the sky over 12 times the size of the full Moon on the border of the constellations Sagittarius and Corona Australis. Two types of star clusters are visible in the image.
April 23rd, 2010
This dramatic image of a nebula containing young, massive stars was captured by NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, a space telescope mapping the whole sky in infrared light. The nebula, located 20,000 light-years away in the Carina spiral arm of our Milky Way Galaxy, contains a central cluster of huge, hot stars, called NGC3603.
February 17th, 2010
The red smudge at the center of this picture is the first comet discovered by NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. The comet, officially named "P/2010 B2 (WISE)," but known simply as WISE, is a dusty mass of ice more than 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) in diameter.
February 11th, 2010
The Seagull nebula, seen in this infrared mosaic from NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, draws its common name from its resemblance to a gull in flight. The image spans an area about seven times as wide as the full Moon, and three times as high (3.55 by 1.37 degrees), straddling the border between the constellations Monoceros and Canis Major (the Big Dog).
May 20th, 2010
This image from WISE is a view within the constellation Cassiopeia of another portion of the vast star forming complex that makes up part of the Perseus spiral arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. Two of the previously released images from WISE are also a part of the same star formation complex of nebulae: The Soul Nebula and Maffei 1 and 2. A distinct star forming region is visible in the bottom right corner this image, called IC 1795.
April 16th, 2010
This infrared image from NASAs WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) features one of the bright stars in the constellation Perseus, named Menkhib (the bright star in the upper left near the red dust cloud) along with a large star forming cloud catalogued as NGC 1499, or more commonly called the California Nebula (running diagonally through the image).
May 7th, 2010
This image from the WISE mission was taken on January 2nd, 2010, during the check-out phase, before the start of the WISE survey. It is a mosaic of 3 individual WISE frames spanning an area on the sky about 7 times the size of the full Moon in portions of the constellations Bootes and Canes Venatici.
March 26th, 2010
This heroic image from WISE is of a special cloud of dust and gas in the constellation Canis Major catalogued as NGC 2359. The nebula is more commonly known as Thor's Helmet due to its remarkable resemblance to depictions of the headwear donned by the famed Norse god of thunder and lightning.
April 30th, 2010
A leggy cosmic creature comes out of hiding in this infrared view from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. The spiral beauty, called IC 342 and sometimes the "hidden galaxy," is shrouded behind our own galaxy, the Milky Way.
April 7th, 2010
A new infrared image from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, showcases the Tadpole nebula, a star-forming hub in the constellation Auriga about 12,000 light-years from Earth. As WISE scanned the sky, capturing this mosaic of stitched-together frames, it happened to catch two asteroids in our Solar System passing by.
May 13th, 2010
Sending chills down the spine of all arachnophobes is the Tarantula Nebula in this image from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). Located in the southern constellation of Dorado, the Tarantula Nebula is a giant star forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud.
July 1st, 2010
In the Perseus spiral arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, opposite the galactic center, lies the nebula SH 2-235. As seen in visible light, SH 2-235 appears to be a small amber-colored dust cloud that spans about a tenth the size of the full Moon. In infrared light, NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, reveals SH 2-235 to be a huge star formation complex more than 100 light-years across -- as seen in this new view. This image covers an area of the sky nearly five times as high and wide as the full moon (2.44 by 2.44 degrees).
April 8th, 2011
This image of spiral galaxy NGC 6744 from NASAs WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) is a mosaic of frames covering an area 3 full Moons tall and 3 full Moons wide (1.56 x 1.56 degrees). It is located in a constellation in the Southern sky, Pavo, whose name is Latin for peacock.
June 4th, 2010
Sprawling across the constellation Vela is a complex of dark, dense clouds of dust and gas, difficult to detect with telescopes that see only visible light. Astronomers mapping out the region in radio light in the late 1980s found four distinct regions of the densest gas and named them clouds A, B, C and D. This image, from NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, takes in the first of those clouds, Vela A.
July 26th, 2010
NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has captured a favorite observing target of amateur astronomers -- Omega Centauri. Also known as NGC 5139, this celestial cluster of stars can be found in the constellation Centaurus and can be seen by the naked eye to observers at low northern latitudes and in the southern hemisphere. This image spans an area on the sky equivalent to a grid of about 3 by 2 full Moons.
August 16th, 2010
The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has seen a cluster of newborn stars enclosed in a cocoon of dust and gas in the constellation Camelopardalis. The cluster, AFGL 490, is hidden from view in visible light by the cloud. But WISEs infrared vision sees the glow of the dust itself, and penetrates this dust to see the infant stars within.
August 2nd, 2010
This image shows the famous Pleiades cluster of stars as seen through the eyes of WISE, or NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. The mosaic contains a few hundred image frames -- just a fraction of the more than one million WISE has captured so far as it completes its first survey of the entire sky in infrared light.
July 16th, 2010
This image from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) takes in several interesting objects in the constellation Cassiopeia, none of which are easily seen in visible light. The red circle visible in the upper left part of the image is SN 1572, often called Tychos Supernova.
July 9th, 2010
Gripped in the claw of the constellation Scorpius, sits the reflection nebula DG 129, a cloud of gas and dust that reflects light from nearby, bright stars. This infrared view of the nebula was captured by NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE.
September 21st, 2010
A new cosmic image taken by NASAs Wide-field Infrared Explorer (WISE) shows the Rosette nebula located within the constellation Monoceros, or the Unicorn. This flower-shaped nebula, also known by the less romantic name NGC 2237, is a huge star-forming cloud of dust and gas in the Milky Way Galaxy. Estimates of the nebulas distance vary from 4,500 to 5,000 light-years away.
August 25th, 2010
In the center of this new mosaic image captured by NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) is the galaxy Messier 74, with its spiral arms seen face-on. The bright reddish object moving across the lower right part of the image is the much closer asteroid 3540 Protesilaos, seen at different points in its orbit around the Sun.
September 8th, 2010
Nebulae are enormous clouds of dust and gas occupying the space between the stars. Seen here in an image from NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, is LBN 114.55+00.22. Named after the astronomer who published a catalogue of nebulae in 1965, LBN stands for Lynds Bright Nebula." The numbers 114.55+00.22 refer to nebulas coordinates in the Milky Way Galaxy, serving as a sort of galactic home address.
September 16th, 2010