NASA unveiled an unusual atlas and catalog of infrared images of the entire sky on Wednesday that includes more than 500 million stars, galaxies and other objects that have been captured by theWide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, spacecraft.
“Today, WISE delivers the fruit of 14 years of effort to the astronomical community,” said Edward Wright, WISE principal investigator at UCLA, who first began working on the mission with other team members in 1998, in a Wednesday news release.
The WISE spacecraft was launched in December 2009, and spent all of 2010 mapping space surrounding Earth. The mission collected more than 2.7 million images recorded at four infrared wavelengths of light.
Those images recorded everything from asteroids moving near this planet to distant galaxies. A first release of WISE data, covering half the sky, occurred last April.