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NASA's new WISE mission atlas reveals the entire sky in infrared

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NASA has released a collection of 80,000 images and a comprehensive new atlas of the night sky, derived from the infrared mapping of the sky by the agency's WISE mission.

NASA WISE infrared image of a supernova
NASA WISE infrared image of a supernova

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission began mapping the sky in 2010, but after collecting more than 15 trillion bytes of data it took more than a little time to process the information. That task complete, NASA has now released a new atlas and catalog covering the more than half a billion celestial objects mapped by the project — some of which were captured for the very first time. Over 2.7 million images taken at four infrared wavelengths of light were collected for the project, which were then condensed down to the 80,000 images available in the new atlas. Even prior to the release of the new imagery, the WISE mission yielded insights, offering the first glimpses of a class of failed stars known as Y-dwarfs, as well as aiding in the discovery of an asteroid that shares the same orbital path as Earth itself. A collection of standout images are available for viewing on the WISE website, and if you'd like to take in the entire atlas itself, you can find it here.