Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer



WISE Project Status

21 Aug 2013 - WISE is being reactivated to search for more Near Earth asteroids. The actual turning the transmitters back on and then turning away from the Earth to cool back down to 74 K should happen soon.

1 Aug 2013 - Asteroid 241527 Edwardwright, discovered by WISE on 8 Feb 2010, has been named for Edward L. (Ned) Wright, PI of WISE. According to the WISE data and the Near Earth Asteroid Thermal Model, it has a diameter of 2.9 km and an albedo (reflectivity) of 8%. It is a main belt asteroid with semi-major axis a=2.725 AU, eccentricity e=0.2003, and inclination i=7.22o.

In the picture on the right, the asteroid is the red dot in the center. This is a 3-color composite of the WISE 3.4, 4.6 and 12 μm bands as blue, green and red. The asteroid is much brighter at 12 μm so it appears red. Click on the image for a larger version.

This asteroid was seen in several "one-night stands" prior to the WISE discovery arc. But these observations, typically three frames taken within a total time span of an hour or less, were not enough to define the orbit. WISE observed the object 9 times over a 33 hour time span, and this gave an orbit good enough to get a preliminary designation (2010 CK9), ground-based followup two months later, and to connect to the previous short observational arcs.



20 Sep 2012 - WISE responded to a wake up call today and sent down its stored housekeeping data. The telescope temperature is now 200 K compared to the 183 K (and rising) we saw on 17 Feb 2011 when we last listened. Click on the thumbnail of the temperature vs time graph for a bigger version. WISE is much warmer now than when it was surveying because it is in an inertial standby mode that keeps the solar panels pointed at the Sun but points at the Earth for half the orbit.


20 August 2012 - The AllWISE proposal to co-add all the WISE data has been accepted. This effort will give produce an all-sky catalog going about sqrt(2) deeper than the current all-sky catalog, a table of fluxes from the 30 or so individual individual frames on each source, and look for proper motion when combining the data taken six months apart. These data products will be produced late in 2013.

31 July 2012 - The NEOWISE Post-Cryo Preliminary Data Release is available at IRSA. This consists of the single frame images and a database of object detections on these frames during the 4 months Oct 2010 through Jan 2011. Since these data were taken for asteroid detection, they were processed using the preliminary pipeline, and they have not been co-added into tiles like the rest of WISE data.

27 June 2012 - ThE WISE 3-band Cryo Release is available at IRSA. This release gives a second pass over 31 percent of the sky. The telescope warmed up to 45 K, which saturated the 22 μm channel W4, and required a reduction in the integration time of the 12 μm channel so the W3 sensitivity is reduced by nearly an order of magnitude.

14 March 2012 - The WISE All-Sky Data Release is available at IRSA.

23 Aug 2011 - WISE has discovered a new class of stars, the Y dwarfs. Some of these stars appear to have temperatures less than 300 K, which is about room temperature. Y dwarfs show methane and water absorption like T dwarfs, but also show ammonia absorption. See Cushing et al. and Kirkpatrick et al..

27 Jul 2011 - Connors etal (2011, Nature, 475, 481) have determined that the WISE discovered NEO 2010 TK7 is an Earth Trojan -- the first to have been found. WISE discovered 2010 TK7 after running our of hydrogen, so the discovery image at right is crowded with stars at 4.6 μm. The asteroid is circled in green. [Press Release]


17 Feb 2011 - the last planned telemetry pass for WISE ended with turning off the transmitter at high noon in California: 20h UTC. The engineering data collected during this pass could be the last data from WISE, although it is still possible for WISE to receive commands and be roused from hibernation.

The picture at right shows Ned Wright sending the final command to turn off the transmitter.


07 Feb 2011 - the last batch of asteroid observations from WISE went to the Minor Planet Center, leading to the discovery of another NEO, pushing the total number of objects with WISE related objects with MPECS up to 184.

1 Feb 2011 - WISE is switched over to hibernation mode. There will be no more survey data. The last survey frame was taken on 1-Feb-2011 at 11:03:01 UTC. [ Press Release]

29 Jan 2011 - WISE added 2011 BY24 to its list of solar system discoveries.

09 Jan 2011 - WISE completed a double coverage of the sky today. Every pixel center on a 3 megapixel HEALpix grid has been observed in frames spanning at least a 5 month time interval, as of today.

04 Jan 2011 - WISE saw the solar eclipse. It was total for WISE even though the Moon's umbral shadow passed a bit North of the Earth. Of course WISE never looks at the Sun, but it did have to go on battery power.

14 Dec 2010 - WISE is one year old! Currently WISE is continuing to survey in its two short wavelength bands, and has now recovered 91% of the sky.

12 Dec 2010 - Mark Larsen, the systems engineer at Space Dynamics Lab responsible for the WISE payload, died today after a battle with cancer. On Nov 21, the International Astronomical Union renamed asteroid 243516 = 2010 CC7 as (243516) Marklarsen. This main belt asteroid was discovered by WISE on 6 Feb 2010.

30 Nov 2010 - WISE is still finding new asteroids. The latest is 2010 WS8 which just missed being a Near Earth Object, with a perihelion at 1.335 AU.

24 Nov 2010 - all of the backlogged data has been downloaded.

15 Nov 2010 - The backlog is finally being worked down, with 4.2 days of data being transmitted in the last 3 days. We should be back to normal by 21 Nov 2010.

06 Nov 2010 - The Delta II finally got off last night and I had a good view of it from UCLA. The space shuttle is delayed until NET Nov 30. Perhaps WISE can work down its backlog of onboard data, currently at 3 days of survey data.

04 Nov 2010 - The continued delays in the Delta II launch of Cosmo-SkyMed4 and the space shuttle, plus the TDRS problem, have pushed the backlog of data onboard to about 2 days survey data.

30 Oct 2010 - NEOWISE post-cryogen mission picked up another big dark NEO, and has a couple other possibilities waiting to be confirmed. But TDRSS problems and the imminent shuttle launch have led to a backlog of data onboard.

07 Oct 2010 - NEOWISE post-cryogen mission picked up an NEO with a period of almost exactly 1 year. In fact the synodic period is over 500 years.

29 Sep 2010 - WISE ran out of it hydrogen coolant. WISE is continuing to survey in its two short bands to determine diameters in the main asteroid belt and to search for NEOs. [Press Release] Two new potentially hazardous asteroids found by WISE were just announced. See for a list of all 170 Minor Planet Electronic Circulars based on WISE data to date.

31 Aug 2010 - WISE just added two new NEOs to its discovery total, both seen with the telescope warmed up to 45 K but the band 3 detector still cold.

10 Aug 2010 - On August 5, at about 09:00 UT, the WISE secondary hydrogen tank ran out of hydrogen. The WISE telescope is now warming up, but the primary hydrogen tank is still keeping the W3 and W4 arrays cold. On August 8 at 00:00 UT, the infrared emission from the warming telescope saturated W4, so no more 22 micron data will be obtained. As of today W3 is still working and still finding asteroids and comets. The primary tank may last for two more months.

29 July 2010 - Asteroid (234750) Amymainzer = 2002 NX69 has been named in honor of the PI of the NEOWISE effort for finding asteroids in the WISE data. WISE observed this asteroid in early March 2010, but it was discovered by NEAT on Palomar in 2002.

23 July 2010 - NEW color scheme for coverage maps: since 99.9% of the sky has been covered to 8 or more frames and the map was all pink, I have changed the color scheme and will now track the 16 or more frames coverage.

13 July 2010 - coverage update delayed by ground data processing. WISE continues to survey. UPDATE 15 July - ground data problem fixed, coverage at 99.2 percent.

11 July 2010 - WISE has recontacted the start of good survey data in the Southern part of the galactic sky.

1 July 2010 - WISE has recontacted the start of good survey data in the Northern part of the galactic sky. This means the usual 0.5-0.6 percent per day increase in coverage to a depth of 8 or more will slow down as coverage goes into increasing the 16x depth.

24 June 2010 - WISE has gotten through the solstice, and experienced the maximum expected exposure to Earthshine on June 19th while avoiding the first quarter Moon. There are now 119 NEOs, comets and Centaurs discovered by WISE.

30 May 2010 - WISE downloaded its millionth frame set last night. The millionth frame was taken at 29-May-2010 20:23:14 UTC centered at (l,b) = (90.33,14.53).

21 May 2010 - Due to the first quarter Moon leading to a planned survey backtrack, and the Space Shuttle in orbit plus a Delta 4 ready to launch from Florida leading to high demand on TDRSS, the reported survey progress today is rather small. But the data have been taken and are waiting in the 96 GByte flash memory built by SEAKR Engineering for downloading tonight.

30 Apr 2010 - WISE has started seeing eclipses over the South Pole. These will continue for the next 14 weeks.

15 Apr 2010 - WISE has covered more than 50 percent of the sky and discovered 50 NEOs, Centaurs and comets.

26 Feb 2010 - WISE has found 2010 DM56, an asteroid with a MOID of only 0.0068 AU.

25 Feb 2010 - WISE has found 2010 DG56, an asteroid with a retrograde orbit, a semi-major axis of 34 AU, and eccentricity 0.95. Probably a dead comet nucleus. UPDATE: Comet C/2010 DG56 (WISE)

17 Feb 2010 - Early Release Images from WISE were released today, showing the large sky coverage that WISE has achieved in one month since starting its survey. You can click on the thumbnails below to get the highest resolution versions of these images, or you can go to the WISE public web site to get a selection of different resolutions. The images are, in order of increasing distance from the Sun: Comet Siding Spring, NGC 3603, M31 and the Fornax cluster of galaxies.

10 Feb 2010 - Minor Planet Electronic Circular 2010-C41 announces the discovery of a potentially hazardous asteroid 2010 CO1 by WISE. Its orbit and the Earth's orbit get as close as 3.3 million km (2 million miles). The period of this asteroid is 1.018 years. As a result it will be close to the Earth every year or so: 0.15 AU on 28 Feb 2010, and 0.09 AU on 04 March 2011, and it is worth keeping a watchful eye on.

08 Feb 2010 - Minor Planet Electronic Circular 2010-C23 announces the discovery of a comet by WISE: COMET P/2010 B2 (WISE).

22 Jan 2010 - Minor Planet Electronic Circular 2010-B33 announces the discovery of a fairly big Near Earth Object by WISE: 2010 AB78.

14 Jan 2010 - WISE officially started its survey today at 12:00 UT or 4 AM PST. The last scan calibration run on 11 Jan 2010 was quite successful, giving a consistent set of preferred scan rates that provide image quality that exceeds our requirement. In other news, an asteroid discovered by WISE has been designated 2010 AX58.

6 Jan 2010 - WISE first light image is released at a press conference during the AAS meeting. This is a very nice picture of a single WISE 47 arc-minute FOV in Carina, centered at (l,b) = (279.21,-5.20). It is an 8 second snapshot taken in staring mode. The bright star is V482 Car.

29 Dec 2009 - the cover is off. In Orbit Checkout continues.

16 Dec 2009 - The star trackers are on, and WISE is now in point standby mode pointing away from the Earth with the Sun on the solar panels. The aperture shade is cooling off dramatically since it is no longer seeing the Earth.

14 Dec 2009 - WISE launched at the opening of its window at 06:09:33
Update 07:07 PST: the circularization burn worked, the separation went OK, and we are getting telemetry from WISE.
Update 07:29 PST: WISE has stabilized with the Sun on the solar panels, and the vent valves have fired and appear to be open.
Update 21 Dec 2009: The image below shows WISE from Tujunga, about 222 km from the launch site, about 4 minutes after liftoff.


©William A. Ling

13 Dec 2009 - The Mobile Service Tower (MST) is now rolled back, so the Delta II with WISE stands in the open on the launch pad. L-6 hours.

13 Dec 2009 - countdown has started with spacecraft power on. Weather looks good for Monday except for ground fog which only bothers the spectators, not the rocket.
Update: preparation continues with the disconnection of the helium cooling flow. L-19 h.

11 Dec 2009 - a desire to replace an actuator on a vernier engine on the Delta II, a need for crew rest, and bad weather have pushed the first launch attempt to Dec 14, 06:09 AM PST.

09 Dec 2009 - Due to issues that need to be investigated on the Delta II launch vehicle, the WISE launch has been delayed until NET Dec 12, 06:09 AM PST.

07 Dec 09 - The second stage on the Delta rocket was fueled today with nitrogen tetroxide and Aerozine-50 (a mixture of hydrazines). Launch is NET Dec 11, 06:09 AM PST.

03 Dec 2009 - WGS-3 scrubbed tonight, which means that WISE will be delayed to No Earlier Than Dec 10, 06:09 AM PST.

27 Nov 2009 - WISE is in the fairing. In order to install the fairing which surrounds the satellite during its ascent through the atmosphere, it was necessary to disconnect the helium cooling flow. As a result the solid hydrogen melted. But the helium cooling was reconnected and early this morning the hydrogen refroze.

The picture on the right shows WISE with one-half of the fairing installed. Note that WISE is rather small compared to the fairing. WISE was designed for a smaller launch vehicle, but we are happy to be on a Delta, since we expect to be the 347th Delta launch, and experience counts in the space business.

An interesting note: the first launch from SLC-2 was COBE.


20 Nov 2009 - WISE is on the rocket. The transport went very smoothly.

16 Nov 2009 - Due to the delay on the East Coast of the Delta IV carrying WGS-3, WISE is slipped to Dec 9.

12 Nov 2009 - WISE is full of supercooled solid hydrogen. Liquid helium will be circulated through cooling coils from now until shortly before launch to keep the hydrogen frozen solid.

29 Oct 2009 - WISE started filling the hydrogen tanks in the cryostat today. WISE also passed its Flight Readiness Review today. The launch vehicle for WISE is being stacked at VAFB.

19 Aug 2009

WISE is now on the launch manifest for 7 Dec 2009.

14 Aug 2009

WISE has arrived at VAFB.

5 Aug 2009

NASA HQ has directed WISE to plan for a launch no earlier than (NET) 1 Dec 2009. This delay is due to launch vehicle availability. Shipping to VAFB will still occur in August.

4 Aug 2009

The WISE pre-ship review occured on Tuesday 4 August. Shipping to VAFB was approved.

3 Jul 2009

The WISE spacecraft and cryostat/telescope/imager passed electromagnetic interference and electromagnetic compatibility testing.

1 Jun 2009

The WISE spacecraft and cryostat/telescope/imager passed acoustic testing.

25 Feb 2009

The WISE spacecraft and Thermal Mass Dynamics Simulator (TMDS) passed vibration testing.

23 Feb 2009

The WISE cryostat completed hydrogen filled lifetime testing.

8 Jan 2009

The WISE cryostat with telescope and detectors passed cold vibration testing.

18 Nov 2008

WISE has passed its System Integration Review and has entered Phase D.

21 Jun 2007

WISE has passed its Mission Critical Design Review, held 18-21 June 2007 at UCLA.

13 Oct 2006

WISE has been confirmed by NASA headquarters. The launch is scheduled for November 2009.

25 Aug 2004

WISE has been selected by NASA as its next Medium-Class Explorer. With this decision the WISE mission will proceed into Phase B (Definition Phase). This phase will conclude with a preliminary design review in April 2005. Read the press release and visit our new public Web page.

29 April 2003

WISE releases a simulated distribution of Brown Dwarfs in the Solar Neighborhood. These data and the viewer are available from our E/PO partner Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History.

20 March 2003

WISE has been selected for an extended Phase A study leading to a decision in 2004 on whether to proceed with the development of the mission. Read the NASA press release on the MidEx selection.

1 Dec 2002

WISE changes its name from NGSS (Next Generation Sky Survey) to the Wide-field Survey Explorer.

17 Apr 2002

NGSS is one of four MIDEX proposals selected for a Phase A study!

29 Oct 2001

The NGSS proposal is resubmitted, a full day before the deadline.

14 Oct 1999

The winners were announced today, and NGSS is not selected.

26 Jan 1999

NGSS is one of five missions selected for a Phase A study, with an expected selection in late 1999 of two of these five missions for construction and launch, one in 2003 and another in 2004.


WISE Home Page

Last modified 21 Aug 2013