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
NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, captured this image of a huge complex of star-forming clouds and stellar clusters found in the constellation Cygnus. Best known as a swan winging its way across the night, the constellation Cygnus is easily seen in the northern hemispheres summertime sky.
June 3rd, 2011
This large mosaic image from NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, features the wreckage of an exploded star, as well as other stars nearing the end of their lives. The wispy, colorful arc-shaped features are remnants of the explosion called a supernova.
February 25th, 2011
A large spiral galaxy dominates this view from NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. The galaxy, often called the Pinwheel galaxy, was designated object 101 in astronomer Charles Messiers catalog of fuzzy things in the sky that are not comets
July 21st, 2011
This image from NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, highlights several star-forming regions. There are five distinct centers of star birth in this one image alone. Star-forming nebulae (called HII regions by astronomers) are clouds of gas and dust that have been heated up by nearby stars recently formed from the same cloud, and have appeared in previously featured WISE images.
June 23rd, 2011
The aptly named Cocoon nebula is featured in this image from NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. This cloud of dust and gas, cataloged as IC 5146 and located in the constellation Cygnus, is wrapped in a dark cloud of dust called Barnard 168. Within this cocoon of dust and gas, new stars are forming and beginning to emerge into the wild.
October 20th, 2010
This latest image from NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, shows three different nebulae located in the constellation of Perseus. NGC 1491 is seen on the right side of the image, SH 2-209 is on the left side and BFS 34 lies in between. The picture covers an area on the sky equal to 8 full moons.
May 4th, 2011
This image of the Sculptor Galaxy from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, shows the galaxy's active side. Infant stars are heating up their dusty cocoons, particularly in the galaxy's core, making the Sculptor galaxy burst with infrared light. This light -- color-coded red in this view -- was captured using WISE's longest-wavelength, 22-micron detector.
October 13th, 2010
Star clusters such as the Pleiades are often considered some of the most beautiful objects in the sky. Yet in this image taken by NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, the star cluster NGC 2259 is overshadowed by the surrounding stars and dust which glow brightly in infrared light.
May 20th, 2011
Todays image from NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, features a region of star birth wrapped in a blanket of dust, colored green in this infrared view. Designated as LBN 149.02-00.13 (or Sh2-205 in the Sharpless catalog of nebulas), this interstellar cloud of dust and gas is a classic example of what astronomers call an HII region, because of all the ionized hydrogen, or HII, within it.
March 17th, 2011
The Sculptor galaxy is shown in different infrared hues, in this new mosaic from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. The main picture is a composite of infrared light captured with all four of the space telescope's infrared detectors.
October 13th, 2010
This image of the Sculptor Galaxy from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, reveals the galaxy's emerging young stars, concentrated in the core and spiral arms. Ultraviolet light from these hot stars is being absorbed by tiny dust or soot particles left over from their formation, making the particles glow with infrared light that has been color-coded green in this view. WISE can see this light with a detector designed to capture wavelengths of 12 microns.
October 13th, 2010
This image of NGC 253 from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, was taken with the two shortest-wavelength detectors (3.4 and 4.6 microns). It shows stars of all ages, which can be found not just in the core and spiral arms but throughout the galaxy.
October 13th, 2010
NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, captured this colorful image of the nebula BFS 29 surrounding the star CE-Camelopardalis, found hovering in the band of the night sky comprising the Milky Way. Most of the gas and dust in this image cannot be seen directly in visible light, but WISEs detectors revealed exquisite new details, and even some hidden stars.
February 18th, 2011
At a distance of 14 million light-years, the Circinus Galaxy is one of the nearest galaxies, yet is largely unexplored because the Milky Way veils it. There are so many stars and so much dust from our own galaxy obscuring the Circinus galaxy. In fact, this galaxy has two extended spiral arms, which look like a great green S in this WISE image. These arms had not been seen until NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and WISE observed them.
March 24th, 2011
NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, captured this image of the star Alpha Camelopardalis, or Alpha Cam in astronomer-speak, speeding through the sky like a motorcyclist zipping through rush-hour traffic. The supergiant star Alpha Cam is the bright star in the middle of this image, surrounded on one side by an arc-shaped cloud of dust and gas, colored red in this infrared view.
March 10th, 2011
This oddly colorful nebula is the supernova remnant IC 443 as seen by NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. Also known as the Jellyfish nebula, IC 443 is particularly interesting because it provides a look into how stellar explosions interact with their environment.
December 9th, 2010
The blue star near the center of this image is Zeta Ophiuchi. When seen in visible light it appears as a relatively dim red star surrounded by other dim stars and no dust. However, in this infrared image taken with NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, a completely different view emerges. Zeta Ophiuchi is actually a very massive, hot, bright blue star plowing its way through a large cloud of interstellar dust and gas.
January 21st, 2011
During its one-year mission, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, mapped the entire sky in infrared light. Among the multitudes of astronomical bodies that have been discovered by the NEOWISE portion of the WISE mission are 20 comets.
February 1st, 2011
This colorful picture is a mosaic of the Lagoon nebula taken by NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. Also known as Messier 8, or simply M8, the Lagoon nebula is seen here as a large circular cloud in the center of the image, surrounded by innumerable stars.
January 6th, 2011
On the morning of February 1st, 2011, NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, took its last snapshot of the sky. WISEs final picture shows thousands of stars in a patch of the Milky Way Galaxy, covering an area 3 times the size of the full Moon, in the constellation Perseus.
February 11th, 2011
This image from NASAs Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, features two stunning galaxies engaged in an intergalactic dance. The galaxies, Messier 81 and Messier 82, swept by each other a few hundred million years ago, and will likely continue to twirl around each multiple times before eventually merging into a single galaxy.
January 13th, 2011
This image from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, shows four galaxies in the Virgo cluster: Messier 59, Messier 60, NGC 4647, and NGC 4638. It also shows the tracks of three asteroids, which appear in this image as trails of green dots.
February 1st, 2011