The NEOWISE 2017 Data Release

Date: 
Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm PDT
Speaker: 
Roc Cutri
Affiliation: 
IPAC/Caltech
Location: 
N232, Room 103
Event Type: 
Colloquium

The Near Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer Reactivation mission (NEOWISE) has been scanning the sky at 3.4 and 4.6 microns since December 2013 to detect and characterize asteroids and comets and to learn more about the population of near-Earth objects that could pose a hazard. NEOWISE utilizes the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer spacecraft (WISE) that surveyed the sky during 2010.  WISE was placed into hibernation in February 2011 after completing its primary astrophysics mission and the exhaustion of the solid hydrogen cryogens that cooled the telescope and sensitive infrared focal plane detectors.  Under the direction of the NASA Planetary Science Division, WISE was brought out of hibernation in late 2013 and renamed NEOWISE with a new mission to study small bodies in the solar system.  NEOWISE scans the entire sky every six months, acquiring ten or more independent simultaneous 3.4 and 4.6 micron measurements at each point on the sky during each sky pass.  The passively cooled HgCdTe detectors operate with nearly the same sensitivity as during the original cryogenic WISE survey. The NEOWISE 2017 data release, scheduled for June 1 of this year, is comprised of the image and extracted source data acquired during the third year of the NEOWISE survey, 13 December 2015 to 13 December 2016.  These data are added to the public archive that already contains data from the first two years of the survey.  The combined three year archive contains over 7.7 million sets of images and 57.8 billion mid-infrared measurements of objects detected on those images, constituting an unprecedented infrared time-domain resource for extracting multiple, independent thermal flux and position measurements of solar systems objects, as well as background galactic and extragalactic sources. I will describe the contents and characteristics of the NEOWISE 2017 data release products and give a few examples of the many ways that NEOWISE data are being used for solar system, galactic and extragalactic time domain studies. NEOWISE is a project of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology that is funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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