Wednesday, May 25, 2011

WISE Infared Explorer Gives Us a Sample of Galaxies to Come

"Galaxies come in all sorts of delicious flavors. Our first sample shows what WISE is capable of. We can produce spectacular high-resolution images of the largest galaxies." says Tom Jarrett, who's currently a WISE team member at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center, California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena. Although he is just one of the many members who do this work, WISE and the WISE has come up with incredible new, colorful photos of galaxies.

Although these pictures taken by WISE are just a taste of what's coming, what does 'WISE' actually mean. WISE is NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer mission, and its purpose is to scan the night sky in infrared. Before the galaxies, WISE made another great contribution: the family of comets that it discovered in the beginning of May, 2011. Now, WISE is branching out into a great realm for scanning: the universe. These galaxies are just a small tidbit in a grand pool of galactic gems that WISE may photograph in the coming days ahead. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory says: 'The mission plans to release similar images for the 1,000 largest galaxies that appear in our sky, and possibly more,' guaranteeing that more photos are to come.

In the above photo, the galaxies create a list being: The Whirlpool Galaxy (Messier 51), Bode's Galaxy (Messier 81), Southern Pinwheel Galaxy (Messier 83), Messier 74 (NGC 628), NGC 1398, NGC 2403, Knife Edge Galaxy (NGC 5907), Barnard's Galaxy (IC 4895), and the Hidden Galaxy (IC 342).

JPL describes these Galaxies as "...varying types -- everything from "grand design spirals," with their elegant cinnamon bun-like swirling arms, to so-called "flocculent" galaxies, which have a more patchy appearance. They are close enough to us that WISE can see details of their structure, for example their sinuous arms and central bulges."

More information is online at and and .

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/WISE Team

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