Monday, December 14, 2009
NASA's WISE infrared telescope spacecraft is scheduled to launch this morning from Vandenberg AFB in California. WISE will perform an infrared all-sky survey at much higher resolution and sensitivity than any previous IR surveys. The bar is not very high on this, since NASA's previous all-sky IR survey satellite was IRAS which launched in 1983 with a whopping 62 detectors (of course other infrared telescopes such as Spitzer have higher resolution but are not suitable for all-sky surveys). WISE will capture everything that radiates in its wavelength band, from asteroids to brown dwarfs to galaxies, and there are bound to be surprises and dramatic discoveries as there always are when new technologies are deployed in space telescopes to look more closely at the universe. The video above is a great overview of the mission.
Note: If you follow this blog, you will have noticed that there hasn't been much to follow recently. I blame this on various distractions, some of which are necessary, and some not so necessary. Sort of a blogging recession. But hey, these things happen, and I hope to return to more regular blogging in early 2010, probably after February 12 when I wrap up an important company event that I organize every year around this time.