25,000 new asteroids found by NASA's sky mapping

Jul 16, 2010 By ALICIA CHANG , AP Science Writer
This image provided by the NASA/JPL-Caltech/WISE Team shows the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) view of the nearby galaxy Messier 83. It is sometimes referred to as the southern Pinwheel galaxy. What's special about WISE is its ability to see through impenetrable veils of dust, picking up the heat glow of objects that are invisible to regular telescopes. So far, WISE has discovered 25,000 never-before-seen asteroids. Of those, 95 are considered "near-Earth" asteroids.(AP Photo/ NASA/JPL-Caltech/WISE Team)

(AP) -- Worried about Earth-threatening asteroids? One of NASA's newest space telescopes has spotted 25,000 never-before-seen asteroids in just six months.

Ninety-five of those are considered "near Earth," but in the language of astronomy that means within 30 million miles. Luckily for us, none poses any threat to Earth anytime soon.

Called WISE for , the telescope completes its first full scan of the sky on Saturday and then begins another round of imaging.

What's special about WISE is its ability to see through impenetrable veils of dust, picking up the heat glow of objects that are invisible to regular telescopes.

"Most telescopes focus on the hottest and brightest objects in the universe," said Richard Binzel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "WISE is especially sensitive to seeing what's cool and dark, what you could call the stealth objects of the universe."

Mission team members are elated with the discoveries of the $320 million project, which launched in December. By the end of the year, researchers expect to have a cosmic census of millions of newfound objects that should help answer questions about how planets, stars and galaxies form.

Besides all those asteroids, WISE has also sighted 15 new comets. It has spied hundreds of potential - stellar objects that are bigger than a planet but much smaller than a star - and confirmed the existence of 20 of them, including some of the coldest ever known.

The telescope also detected what's thought to be an ultraluminous galaxy, more than 10 billion light years away and formed from other .

"We're filling in the blanks on everything in the universe from near-Earth objects to forming galaxies," said project scientist Peter Eisenhardt of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is managing the mission. "There's quite a zoo."

WISE's 16-inch telescope was built by Utah State University's Space Dynamics Laboratory. It circles the Earth 300 miles high and takes snapshots every 11 seconds over the whole sky.

Since the sky survey began, the JPL team has reported the new near-Earth objects to the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center, which keeps track of all small solar system objects.

WISE is discovering near-Earth asteroids that are on average larger than what's found by existing telescopes, which should help scientists better calculate their potential threat, said Harvard astronomer Timothy Spahr, who directs the Minor Planet Center.

The WISE mission comes a quarter century after the Infrared Astronomy Satellite made the first all-sky map in infrared wavelength in 1983. Unlike its predecessor, WISE is far more powerful. It's expected to keep taking images covering half of the sky until October when it will begin to run out of coolant.

NASA has released a picture a week of WISE's myriad finds. But the full celestial catalog of what's out there will not be released to the public until next year after the team has had time to process the images and flag false alarms.

"The real discoveries will come when we let the whole world in on the data," Eisenhardt said.

Explore further: Big black holes can block new stars

More information: WISE project: http://wise.ssl.berkeley.edu/

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User comments : 21

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gopher65
5 / 5 (3) Jul 16, 2010
This mission may have been expensive, but it was well worth the price. So far the preliminary results have been fantastic.
gwargh
5 / 5 (3) Jul 16, 2010
This mission may have been expensive, but it was well worth the price. So far the preliminary results have been fantastic.

Not even expensive, really.
$320 = 2.5 F-35's (if bought in sufficient amount, canada's paying about $4billion for 6 of them).
R_R
3 / 5 (10) Jul 16, 2010
Perhaps we should stop giving trillions to the banksters and figure out how to defend ourselves given only 12,000 years ago a 50 mile wide rock pierced the Earths crust at lower right Hudson Bay and shifted the Poles. Or we can lie in our bed of hay and feed at the information trough untill the next one wakes us up.
Caliban
2.8 / 5 (4) Jul 16, 2010
I was dismayed by the fact that they had discovered a crapload of "brown dwarf candidates"- but no mention of proximity to earth.
And, yeah- if they are only just now finding all these additional rocks, how long before they find that 250-miler bearing down on us?
And, how much longer before we start to pass through the main bulk of the galactic plane?

When the inevitable does happen, it should be mercifully quick. So there's that.
GPG
not rated yet Jul 16, 2010
Caliban
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 17, 2010
http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/planets/impact-No.htm


On the other hand, there is an abundance of confirmed sites, nonetheless:

http://en.wikiped..._America
blank_black
3 / 5 (2) Jul 17, 2010
i wonder if they have a found a rock/number of rocks that will destroy us all but are not going to disclose that to the public until its too late, in order to avoid having to deal with worldwide panic or other problems?
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Jul 17, 2010
And, how much longer before we start to pass through the main bulk of the galactic plane?

Depending on hwo you measure the galaxy (which is hard to do from inside it) then this happens every 33 years or up to every 20 million years or so. Whatever: we are never far from the galactic plane so don't expect and dramatic increase in asteroids when we cross it

I was dismayed by the fact that they had discovered a crapload of "brown dwarf candidates"
Brown dwarfs are subcritical suns (and therefore about 70-80 Jupiter masses). So you don't need to worry that something like this is close by - THAT we would have spotted easily. The next one is AFAIK 160 light years away.
gopher65
5 / 5 (5) Jul 17, 2010
antialias_physorg: Actually brown dwarfs are very difficult to spot. It's entirely possible that there are multiple brown dwarfs closer to us than Proxima Centauri, but that we haven't noticed yet. They aren't particularly dangerous though, so don't worry about them.

Caliban: 250 mile across rocks are *big* and *bright*. Any rock that large that's anywhere near us was discovered already discovered a century ago. If you're going to worry about rocks (instead of comets which can come careening in from the outer solar system undetected until it's too late), then worry about the small, less than 300 metres across ones. They're big enough to destroy a country, and they can be very hard to spot.

R_R: That's just not true. A 50 mile across rock would have extincted all life on Earth, and vapourized a good chunk of the oceans. If that had happened a mere 12000 years ago we wouldn't be here:P. A *comet* impacted 12000 years ago. A small comet. Maybe a few hundred megatons of energy released.
Truth
3 / 5 (1) Jul 17, 2010
i wonder if they have a found a rock/number of rocks that will destroy us all but are not going to disclose that to the public until its too late, in order to avoid having to deal with worldwide panic or other problems?

I agree, Caliban. I can think of no reason why telling us that we are going to be destroyed by a planet-killer would do ANY good whatsoever. The only thing that would happen would be a TOTAL breakdown in the social structure, and utter chaos, causing a horrendous amount of deaths even before the damn thing hits us. A wise decision would be to let us go about our business until the very end.
R_R
1 / 5 (6) Jul 17, 2010
Gopher says "thats just not true"- Unfortunately it is true and I can more then back up that statement. The flock has been told a pack of lies about an Ice Age and such. The reason North America was covered with ice up till 12,000 years ago is because the North Pole was situated at Hudson Bay untill this impact slowed Earth's rotation to a stop after which it started up at a new angle. This is also why millions of froozen mammoths have been discovered in Siberia, many inside the arctic circle, the pole shifted over top of them. Message from the Ancients
R_R
1 / 5 (6) Jul 18, 2010
It doesn't matter that a perfect 500 km wide crater formation exists at lower right Hudson Bay, smack dab where the thickest ice of the Ice Ages supposedly was grinding the ground for hundreds of thousands of years. It doesn't matter these ice sheets would have erased such a structure had it existed before the ice sheets. It doesn't matter there isn't a shred of evidence this crater wasn't formed post ice age, after the ice left just 12,000 years ago. It doesn't even matter this impact is why the ice left. The sheep have been told nothing to see hear, so most put thier heads down and continue feeding.
R_R
1 / 5 (6) Jul 18, 2010
It doesn't matter there was one of the greatest extinction events at the end of the Ice Age, it doesn't matter Dr Firestone has shown North America was completely insinerated around this time, it doesn't matter all the myths speak of a world wide flood, it doesn't matter the Great Pyramid shows a 28 degree Pole Shift occured 10,500 BC, it doesn't matter entire Island Continents were sunk, it doesn't even matter the next big rock gets closer every day. So what matters? Power and money, regardless the risk.
R_R
1 / 5 (3) Jul 18, 2010
The financial system is sound, the oil rigs are safe, Iraq has weapons of mass destruction and that was just an Ice Age. Ba Ba
blank_black
not rated yet Jul 19, 2010
I agree, Caliban. I can think of no reason why telling us that we are going to be destroyed by a planet-killer would do ANY good whatsoever. The only thing that would happen would be a TOTAL breakdown in the social structure, and utter chaos, causing a horrendous amount of deaths even before the damn thing hits us. A wise decision would be to let us go about our business until the very end.


this post may not be so relevant but for the record u quoted blank.black, not Caliban :)
R_R
1 / 5 (5) Jul 19, 2010
Rather then push a button and rate me 1 out of 5 just as a monkey could do, lets see if you can think for yourself and post one shred of evidence that the Pole was not at Hudson Bay 12,500 years ago. Evidence, not opinion please. I won't hold my breath.
blank_black
5 / 5 (2) Jul 19, 2010
R R don't you think its a little silly to cry over ratings considering the topic we are talking about? if you are commenting on here just because of achieving ratings, i suggest you stop because you are not doing yourself any good. you are playing the "i am better than you" game, which i think has almost ruined us all. i think all of us need to work together here in harmony no matter how different we think. every side of a story needs to be heard, its not about just one right opinion.

P.S. im sorry my post is irrelevant to the topic that is being discussed here but i think sometimes people need to be corrected so that they do not repeat mistakes.
R_R
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 20, 2010
Blank, You have me wrong, I'm not crying over ratings, I could care less about those ratings, in fact I was try to make the same point you made about working together (I guess not well). It is impossible to change things because any attemp is ignored or attacked. In my opinion, this is because the establishment is mostly concerned with power, not truth, and they put up all manner of road blocks to maintian the statis quo. So most just roll with the lies unwilling to challenge them no matter how strong the evidence, as I've encountered here so far. Problem is these lies are often dangerous lies such as the one I have been trying to show.
R_R
1 / 5 (3) Jul 20, 2010
Blank, I have proof the Pole was at Hudson Bay before meteor impact 12,500 years ago and after five years of research I've realized there is not a shred of basic scientific evidence to indicate I'm wrong, in fact all the evidence better fits this senario. But people have been conditioned to think this possibility absurd and there is almost no getting through to them. More importantly the evidence strongly suggests that Mankind has since been continually desimated by these impacts and I am here to suggest we challenge the lies while we still have time to pretect ourselves. So perhaps it is you who is not cooperating and perhaps it is you who thinks they are better then me, not recongnizing I am just trying to improve the situation the best way I know how.
blank_black
not rated yet Jul 20, 2010
R R i am not in anyway ignoring/disregarding your evidence for whatever it is you have evidence for, since i haven't researched enough about it to make an argument. and as i pointed out earlier, my comment had nothing to do with the topic being discussed but instead had to do with your attitude towards getting a down rate. but if i misunderstood you there then i apologize :)
R_R
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 20, 2010
Thankyou Blank, no worries. I just want people to know whats what. If you wish to learn more you can view my website at www.thegreatpyramidspeaks.com. The ancients that survived this cataclysm measured and recorded the Pole Shift that occured 10,500 BC and this information was handed down for thousands of years. The Egyptians were not our first civilization, but a restart of civilization due to yet another impact in the Indian Ocean (berkle crater 3200 BC). Sadly we must get the truth from a 5000 year old mountain of rocks, not our leaders. Regards