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Topic: NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer

NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer data reveals insights into how Black Holes Form

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – How do you grow a supermassive black hole that is a million to a billion times the mass of our sun? Astronomers do not know the answer, but a new study using data from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has turned up what might be the cosmic seeds from which a black hole will sprout.

The results are helping scientists piece together the evolution of supermassive black holes — powerful objects that dominate the hearts of all galaxies.

The galaxy NGC 4395 is shown here in infrared light, captured by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The galaxy NGC 4395 is shown here in infrared light, captured by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) scans the sky for Planet X, but comes up empty

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – After searching hundreds of millions of objects across our sky, NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has turned up no evidence of the hypothesized celestial body in our solar system commonly dubbed “Planet X.”

Researchers previously had theorized about the existence of this large, but unseen celestial body, suspected to lie somewhere beyond the orbit of Pluto. In addition to “Planet X,” the body had garnered other nicknames, including “Nemesis” and “Tyche.”

Data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has found no evidence for a hypothesized body sometimes referred to as "Planet X." (Penn State University)

Data from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has found no evidence for a hypothesized body sometimes referred to as “Planet X.” (Penn State University)

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NASA’s NEOWISE spacecraft spots it’s first Comet since being reactivated

 

Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft has spotted a never-before-seen comet — its first such discovery since coming out of hibernation late last year.

“We are so pleased to have discovered this frozen visitor from the outermost reaches of our solar system,” said Amy Mainzer, the mission’s principal investigator from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. “This comet is a weirdo – it is in a retrograde orbit, meaning that it orbits the sun in the opposite sense from Earth and the other planets.”

Comet NEOWISE was first observed by NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft on Valentine's Day, 2014.

Comet NEOWISE was first observed by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft on Valentine’s Day, 2014.

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NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) captures image of baby stars in the Trifid nebula

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A storm of stars is brewing in the Trifid nebula, as seen in this view from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. The stellar nursery, where baby stars are bursting into being, is the yellow-and-orange object dominating the picture.

Yellow bars in the nebula appear to cut a cavity into three sections, hence the name Trifid nebula.

Colors in this image represent different wavelengths of infrared light detected by WISE. The main green cloud is made up of hydrogen gas.

Radiation and winds from massive stars have blown a cavity into the surrounding dust and gas, creating the Trifid nebula, as seen here in infrared light by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA)

Radiation and winds from massive stars have blown a cavity into the surrounding dust and gas, creating the Trifid nebula, as seen here in infrared light by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA)

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NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) takes image of dying star

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – In an unexpected juxtaposition of cosmic objects that are actually quite far from each other, a newly released image from NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) shows a dying star, called the Helix nebula, surrounded by the tracks of asteroids. The nebula is far outside our solar system, while the asteroid tracks are inside our solar system.

The portrait, discovered by chance in a search for asteroids, comes at a time when the mission’s team is celebrating its fourth launch anniversary — and new lease on life.

A dying star, called the Helix nebula, is shown surrounded by the tracks of asteroids in an image captured by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA)

A dying star, called the Helix nebula, is shown surrounded by the tracks of asteroids in an image captured by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA)

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NASA’s NEOWISE Spacecraft to hunt Asteroids for future Exploration

 

Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE), a spacecraft that made the most comprehensive survey to date of asteroids and comets, has returned its first set of test images in preparation for a renewed mission.

NEOWISE discovered more than 34,000 asteroids and characterized 158,000 throughout the solar system during its prime mission in 2010 and early 2011.

NASA's NEOWISE spacecraft opened its "eyes" after more than two years of slumber to see the starry sky. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s NEOWISE spacecraft opened its “eyes” after more than two years of slumber to see the starry sky. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spots possible set of circling Black Holes

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Astronomers have spotted what appear to be two supermassive black holes at the heart of a remote galaxy, circling each other like dance partners. The incredibly rare sighting was made with the help of NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE.

Follow-up observations with the Australian Telescope Compact Array near Narrabri, Australia, and the Gemini South telescope in Chile, revealed unusual features in the galaxy, including a lumpy jet thought to be the result of one black hole causing the jet of the other to sway.

Two black holes are entwined in a gravitational tango in this artist's conception. Supermassive black holes at the hearts of galaxies are thought to form through the merging of smaller, yet still massive black holes, such as the ones depicted here. (NASA)

Two black holes are entwined in a gravitational tango in this artist’s conception. Supermassive black holes at the hearts of galaxies are thought to form through the merging of smaller, yet still massive black holes, such as the ones depicted here. (NASA)

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NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer data used to bring Galaxies out of Hiding

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s WISE mission has released a new and improved atlas and catalog brimming with data on three-quarters of a billion objects detected during two full scans of the sky.

WISE, which stands for Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, scanned the entire sky in infrared light in 2010, snapping a dozen pictures of every star and galaxy. By October of that year, the spacecraft ran out of the coolant needed to chill some of its heat-seeking detectors. NASA then decided to fund a second scan of the sky to look for asteroids and comets, in a project called NEOWISE.

The new AllWISE catalog will bring distant galaxies that were once invisible out of hiding, as illustrated in this image.

The new AllWISE catalog will bring distant galaxies that were once invisible out of hiding, as illustrated in this image.

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NASA’s Space Telescopes help Astronomers separate two galaxies that appeared as one

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – What might look like a colossal jet shooting away from a galaxy turns out to be an illusion. New data from the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) reveal that two galaxies, one lying behind the other, have been masquerading as one.

In a new image highlighting the chance alignment, radio data from the VLA are blue and infrared observations from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) are yellow and orange, respectively. Visible data are also shown, with starlight in purplish blue and heated gas in rose.

The edge-on spiral galaxy UGC 10288 appeared to be a single object in previous observations. However, new detailed radio data from the NRAO's Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) revealed that the large perpendicular extension of UGC 10288's halo (blue) is really a distant background galaxy with radio jets. (VLA/NASA/JPL-Caltech/SDSS/NOAO/University of Manitoba)

The edge-on spiral galaxy UGC 10288 appeared to be a single object in previous observations. However, new detailed radio data from the NRAO’s Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) revealed that the large perpendicular extension of UGC 10288′s halo (blue) is really a distant background galaxy with radio jets. (VLA/NASA/JPL-Caltech/SDSS/NOAO/University of Manitoba)

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NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) sees ‘Witch Head’ Brewing Baby Stars

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A witch appears to be screaming out into space in this new image from NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE.

The infrared portrait shows the Witch Head nebula, named after its resemblance to the profile of a wicked witch. Astronomers say the billowy clouds of the nebula, where baby stars are brewing, are being lit up by massive stars.

An infrared portrait of the Witch Head nebula from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, shows billowy clouds where new stars are brewing. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

An infrared portrait of the Witch Head nebula from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, shows billowy clouds where new stars are brewing. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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