[meteorite-list] NEOWISE: A Yearlong Look at the Sky

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2015 17:15:28 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <201501160115.t0G1FSih001906_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


NEOWISE: A Yearlong Look at the Sky
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
January 15, 2015

NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft
discovered and characterized 40 near-Earth objects (NEOs) in the first
year after the mission was re-started in December 2013. Eight of the discoveries
have been classified as potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs), based
on their size and how close their orbits could come to Earth's orbit.

The mission has further observed and characterized 245 previously known
near-Earth objects. From December 2013 to December 2014, NEOWISE discovered
three new comets and observed 32 others. One of the others has turned
into the brightest comet in Earth's night sky in early 2015, comet C/2014
Q2 (Lovejoy).

A new movie depicts asteroids and comets observed in the past year by
NEOWISE. It is online at:


A series of NEOWISE images of comet Lovejoy is online at:


NEOWISE always looks in the dawn and twilight skies - the direction perpendicular
to a line between Earth and the sun. This unique vantage point makes it
easy for NEOWISE to spot NEOs that get particularly close to Earth.

Originally called the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), the
spacecraft was placed in hibernation in 2011 after its primary mission
was completed. In September 2013, it was reactivated, renamed NEOWISE
and assigned a new mission to assist NASA's efforts to identify the population
of potentially hazardous near-Earth objects. NEOWISE is also characterizing
previously known asteroids and comets to provide information about their
sizes and compositions.

NEOWISE is a space telescope that scans the skies for asteroids and comets.
The telescope sees infrared light, which allows it to pick up the heat
signature of asteroids and obtain better estimates of their true sizes.
As a result, NEOWISE can see dark asteroids that are harder for visible-light
surveys to find. Nearly all of the NEOWISE discoveries have been large
(hundreds of yards, or meters, wide) and very dark, similar to printer
toner. When NEOWISE's infrared data on an object is combined with that
of a visible-light optical telescope, it helps scientists understand the
object's composition.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, manages the
NEOWISE mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
The Space Dynamics Laboratory in Logan, Utah, built the science instrument.
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. of Boulder, Colorado, built the spacecraft.
Science operations and data processing take place at the Infrared Processing
and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
Caltech manages JPL for NASA. For more information about NEOWISE, visit:


More information about asteroids and near-Earth objects is at:


Media Contact

DC Agle
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
agle at jpl.nasa.gov

Dwayne Brown
NASA Headquarters, Washington
dwayne.c.brown at nasa.gov

Received on Thu 15 Jan 2015 08:15:28 PM PST

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