Using NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer telescope, astronomers have finally spotted a collection of ultra-cool brown dwarfs they have been hunting for more than a decade. These tepid almost-star orbs are nearly impossible to see with a normal telescope, but WISE’s infrared vision was able to pick them out.
After losing a fellow star, its longtime companion, a star 20 times more massive than our sun is tearing through space on a cosmic bender, leaving a trail of displaced gas and dust in its wake. A new image from NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey (WISE) has captured the runaway star and its impact on its galactic neighborhood and translated the infrared light into visible colors in the image above.
After almost a year of successfully surveying the entire sky one-and-a-half times over, NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer has run out of coolant – quite expectedly – and reached the end of its primary mission. Since its launch last December, the mission snapped more than 1.8 million images in four different infrared wavelengths, providing astronomers with enough data to keep them busy combing through it for decades. That is to say, WISE has had a very productive year.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.