NEOWISE: A Yearlong Look At The Sky

Each dot represents an asteroid or comet that the NEOWISE mission observed. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Each dot represents an asteroid or comet that the NEOWISE mission observed. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The mission has further observed and characterized 245 previously known near-Earth objects. From December 2013 to December 2014, NEOWISE discovered three new comets and observed 32 others. One of the others has turned into the brightest comet in Earth’s night sky in early 2015, comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy).

A new movie depicts asteroids and comets observed in the past year by NEOWISE. It is online at:

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA19101

A series of NEOWISE images of comet Lovejoy is online at:

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA19102

Originally called the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), the spacecraft was placed in hibernation in 2011 after its primary mission was completed. In September 2013, it was reactivated, renamed NEOWISE and assigned a new mission to assist NASA’s efforts to identify the population of potentially hazardous near-Earth objects. NEOWISE is also characterizing previously known asteroids and comets to provide information about their sizes and compositions.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, manages the NEOWISE mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Space Dynamics Laboratory in Logan, Utah, built the science instrument. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. of Boulder, Colorado, built the spacecraft. Science operations and data processing take place at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.