In 2011, after WISE’s primary operations stopped, the spacecraft was put into hibernation. But with its infrared detectors working, scientists reactivated it in 2013 with the Near-Earth Object Widefield Infrared Survey (NEOWISE) explorer. One of NeoVice’s main goals is to classify the 2,000 asteroids that have already been identified.
Conducting wide-field surveys of space. Photographing the night sky once every six months. For example, NASA created a timelapse of the night sky by combining 18 photos taken over the past ten years. Scientists have identified hundreds of millions of objects and differences when looking at them together rather than separately.
“If you go outside and look at the night sky, it might seem like nothing has changed, but it hasn’t,” said principal investigator Amy Meinzer of the University of Arizona in Tucson. “The stars are burning.. exploding. Asteroids are whispering.. Black holes are tearing stars apart. “The universe is indeed a very busy, active place.”
One of the mission’s most important contributions is the study of brown dwarfs. Brown dwarfs are not stars..they are subcellular objects on their way to becoming stars. But it never accumulated enough mass to ignite hydrogen gas. They are smaller than stars..larger than the largest planets. Their mass ranges from 13 to 80 times that of Jupiter.
Astronomers theorize that brown dwarfs exist, but only infrared observations can detect them. Although these are difficult to find from the Earth’s surface, two mass surveys have succeeded in finding some. Infrared observatories like WISE or NEOWISE have been used for this.