NEOWISE Space Infrared Survey:
NEOWISE Space Infrared Survey: NEOWISE is the term used to describe the
near-Earth object observing capability of the Wide-field Infrared Survey
Explorer (WISE) telescope. WISE used a 40 cm aperture telescope to
observe the entire sky twice from January 2010 to February 2011.
The cryogens used to cool the telescope ran out in October
2010. The infrared wavelength regions are centered at 3.4, 4.6, 12, and
22 microns, but only the 3.4 and 4.6 micron bands were used after the
cryogen ran out. The WISE spacecraft is in a nearly polar orbit with
the telescope always directed 90 degrees from the sun's direction.
NEOWISE is an enhancement to the WISE data pipeline that allows new
moving objects to be followed up by ground-based telescopes operating in
the visible region. These follow-up observations ensure that a NEO's
orbit will be secure and the object will not become lost. Because dark
asteroids re-radiate strongly in the infrared, NEOWISE observations can
often provide better estimates for NEO diameters than can optical
telescopes. That is, optical telescopes observe reflected sunlight so
they cannot easily tell the difference between a small bright object and
large dark object. NASA has decided to restart the NEOWISE survey,
which is expected to begin collecting new asteroid data in early 2014.
Principal Investigators: Ned Wright (UCLA) for WISE & Amy Mainzer (JPL) for NEOWISE
Look here for additional information on WISE and NEOWISE:
Look here for a tally of NEOWISE discoveries of comets and near-Earth objects: