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WISE, a mission that will find ALL the neighbours
NGC3314
post Dec 13 2009, 07:59 PM
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QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Dec 12 2009, 10:33 PM) *
I just remembered that the chilling routine involves a team of poor guys whose sole job is to run those tanks of liquid helium up the tower to the top of the rocket...


Something similar happened with ESA's ISO far-IR observatory (pardon the redundancy with the acronym). A team had to head out to check something on the Ariane 4 booster well after the area would normally be cleared, and one of the payload teams took the opportunity to head out at the same time and top off its liquid helium dewar. With the boiloff from external conditions in French Guyana, scuttlebutt was that this added a few months to the cryogenic mission lifetime (something like 27 months of an expected 24 and required 18).
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climber
post Dec 14 2009, 03:08 PM
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Wise has been succesfully deployed in orbit


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ElkGroveDan
post Dec 14 2009, 04:28 PM
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Yes indeed. And I missed the launch mad.gif

Can't wait for the science results to start coming in.


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maschnitz
post Dec 14 2009, 07:54 PM
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Here's a general "mission/science expectations" summary post, since I was curious, and I had to dig around a bit to get it:

Emily says, "There's a one-month commissioning phase before science starts. ... The main imaging instrument gets turned on in five days. Sixteen days after launch, the cryostat cover will be blown off. Then there are two weeks of checkouts of instruments and systems, followed by a nine-month nominal mission. That nine months will allow them to perform 1.5 complete sky surveys."

There's one sky survey in six months because it's in a sun-synchronous orbit and thus WISE hits both sides of the sky in its orbit (obviously), and it scans the skies by waiting for Earth to orbit the Sun.

Space.com adds that "WISE will capture about 5,700 pictures a day of the infrared sky. The mission management team says it will release the first science data within one month of launch."

And one of the project scientists said in the press conference that they'll be announcing interesting objects as they spot them. But the bulk of the data will be released in two big chunks at the very end of the mission - first release, April 2011, second, March 2012, according to this.

In case it's not obvious: I think this mission is very exciting. Congrats to NASA on a successful launch!
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centsworth_II
post Dec 23 2009, 06:56 AM
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For those who like observing things in orbit:

I've pasted the entire post here.

Seeing WISE
"WISE is now in the Heavens Above orbit database. It will be favorably placed over Los Angeles on the morning of Dec 24, and I will try to observe it. You can get predictions for you own location from Heavens Above and try to spot it. If you try leave a comment describing your observation." -- Ned Wright, WISE PI
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belleraphon1
post Dec 30 2009, 01:52 AM
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NASA's WISE Space Telescope Jettisons its Cover12.29.09
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/WISE/new...se20091229.html

WISE is scheduled to begin its survey of the infrared heavens in mid-January of 2010.

Really looking forward to the asteroid, brown dwarves results. And the unexpected!

Craig

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nprev
post Dec 30 2009, 02:03 AM
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Always a relief to hear that the last critical deployment event for a mission was successful! smile.gif

Here's to seeing the unexpected...we always do.

EDIT: First guess at the unexpected: Spotting the Solar System's "debris trail". Given the fact that matter is pretty sparsely distributed in interstellar space, there should be a fairly constant escapement of micron-sized dust along with all kinds of molecular species that should stand out by contrast.

This outflow of course would be strongly influenced by the heliopause & other effects...but it would be interesting & scientifically useful for many reasons if it could be observed & characterized.


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alan
post Jan 6 2010, 10:24 PM
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First light

http://wise.ssl.berkeley.edu/gallery_first_light.html
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centsworth_II
post Jan 7 2010, 03:57 AM
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"More soon, including a comparison of this new WISE image vs. the old catalogs it will replace: COBE and IRAS."
http://www.cosmicdiary.org/blogs/nasa/amy_mainzer/?p=637
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belleraphon1
post Jan 23 2010, 09:52 PM
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Emily has posted the WISE news regarding the team's first asteroid discovery...

http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00002316/

Exciting.... and open the WISE image... expand it and look at ALL those little red dots...lots and lots of little red (which means cool) dots.

http://www.planetary.org/image/PIA12499.jpg

Any brown dwarfs in there? I tremble!

Craig
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Floyd
post Jan 24 2010, 04:06 PM
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Wow, there are lots of faint red dots in the image. However, I have a question on the number of asteroids Wise will find. If the nominal mission is 200 days, and is expected to find hundres or thousands of asteroids, then that is 1/day or 10/day for 200 or 2000 asteroids. From first light to first asteroid was 6 days---that is about 33 in 200 day mission. What am I misunderstanding?


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ngunn
post Jan 24 2010, 04:22 PM
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The time lag due to the need for follow-up observations prior to announcement?
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Greg Hullender
post Jan 24 2010, 04:43 PM
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Makes sense. Takes time to settle into a new routine, work out the bugs, fill the pipeline, etc. I'll repeat my concern that some of these objects will end up being hard to follow up on. Either because there are just too many for the available ground instruments or because they can't be seen from the ground at all.

But we'll see.

--Greg
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elakdawalla
post Jan 25 2010, 05:08 PM
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There's interesting discussion of these issues going on in the Minor Planets Mailing List by people who (unlike me) actually know what they are talking about in terms of astrometry and followup.


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Greg Hullender
post Jan 25 2010, 06:28 PM
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Thanks, Emily. One post there, from Richard Kowalski with the Catalina Sky Survey at the University of Arizona seemed especially helpful.

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/mpml/message/22940

In particular, he quoted Tim Spahr, Director of the Minor Planet Center as saying:

"It seems there is some information lacking that will help the understanding of the WISE mission a bit better. First and foremost, when fully operational, the spacecraft will observe each object ~10 times over ~1.0 days. Thus, each object observed will be of 'designatable' quality. Further, NASA has funded various projects to do follow-up specifically of their NEOs. At 1-2 new NEOs per day, there is an excellent chance that most NEOs will be followed-up with existing resources. Lastly, and this seems lost on nearly everyone, the existing follow-up capabilities are really staggering now. H55, G96, and 291 observe nearly every single new NEO discovered. It is really rather spectacular. So my feeling is really that WISE will probably not generate a big bunch of things with little or no information.

"On the MBA side, the MPC expects to link most WISE discoveries with observations from G96, 691 (also funded to support WISE directly), and 703. But even if we don't, there's nothing wrong with a bunch of 2-night objects in our files, waiting for other identifications at other oppositions in the future."

That pretty much answered my questions.

Thanks again!

--Greg
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