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NASA Space Science

NASA WISE Satellite Blasts Into Space 139

coondoggie writes "After a three day delay, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer this morning blasted into space courtesy of a Delta II rocket and will soon begin bathing the cosmos with infrared light, picking up the glow of hundreds of millions of objects and producing millions of images. The space agency says the WISE spacecraft will circle Earth over the poles, scanning the entire sky one-and-a-half times in nine months. The idea behind the spacecraft is to uncover objects never seen before, including the coolest stars, the universe's most luminous galaxies and some of the darkest near-Earth asteroids and comets."
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NASA WISE Satellite Blasts Into Space

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  • Bathing? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Garble Snarky ( 715674 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:31PM (#30433034)
    Is it really "bathing" the cosmos? Don't most orbiting observatories just have sensors, not emitters?
  • by Angst Badger ( 8636 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:31PM (#30433036)

    I'm pretty sure we're talking passive sensors here, so it's not going to be "bathing the cosmos with infrared light" as much as it's going to be bathing in the infrared light of the cosmos. If scientists hadn't stopped writing in Latin, we wouldn't have these little word order screwups, now would we?

    But it's good it will be finding the coolest stars. Aside from giving us new insights into the age of the universe and stellar evolution, it'll give NASA something to boast about on Facebook.

  • Re:Bathing? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Entropy98 ( 1340659 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:36PM (#30433096) Homepage

    Maybe they meant "and will soon begin bathing in the infrared light of the cosmos"

  • by jameskojiro ( 705701 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:53PM (#30433296) Journal

    I wonder if this will find any stars closer to the earth that proxima centari?

    It would be interesting if it found a brown or red dwarf companion to our star which orbits out beyond the ort cloud. An Ion or VASIMIR powered probe to this star would be cool and feasible even if it were up to 1/2 a light year away.

    What would everyone think if we found out that our solar system is just another binary star system amonst the trillions and quadrillions of other multiple star systems out there....


  • by Eevee ( 535658 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @02:19PM (#30433558)
    Instead of going to some half-assed article from networkworld, why aren't we linking to the actual NASA WISE [nasa.gov] site? Original sources, people. It's not that hard.
  • by MillionthMonkey ( 240664 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @02:27PM (#30433678)
    I skimmed the summary not even noticing the stupid "bathing" thing', and then guess what 99% of the comments here are about?

    Every time a summary has the tiniest little compiler error in it, no matter what it's about, any interest that might have been gleaned from TFA is lost. All you karma whores storm in like a Black Friday Walmart crowd trying to score your 5, Funny first posts and you fill up this board with this redundantly unfunny goofballing- "huh huh huh it's bathing the cosmos not the other way around huh huh huh"! My heart pains for any infrared astronomer out there drowning in this shit.
  • by diablovision ( 83618 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @02:36PM (#30433806)

    Given that Pluto orbits at close to 1/1000th of a lightyear from the Sun (up to 7 billion km versus about 10 trillion km in a lightyear), I think if there were a companion star at 1/2 a lightyear, we'd probably have been able to infer its presence by its gravitational disturbance on the outermost planets' orbits. Also, most binary systems have very tight orbits between the companion stars--a binary system with 1/2 a lightyear distance might be even more unusual than a unary star system.

    I suppose it is possible the Sun has a companion out there, but seems very unlikely to me.

  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @02:41PM (#30433876)
    A lot of this depends on how timely a given probe team makes the data available on the net. For example, earlier this year hobbyists measured out of ring plane bumps on Saturns rings during Saturn's vernal equinox. Then the rings were edge-on to the Sun and tiny out-of-plane excursions cast measurable shadows on the reset of the ring.

    A counter-example the Kepler project. They are NOT putting raw data on the web yet for the public to anyalyze. They probably have a private website somewhere with the data.
  • by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @03:26PM (#30434364)

    not error, misconception. Engineers and scientists hate those. Simplifying for a general audience while still educating is a grand thing, but care to be accurate still taken. So be glad we give a shit,

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