Monday, January 27, 2014

Asteroid 2415 Ganesa and Star Cluster NGC 2158

More than 100 asteroids were captured in this view from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, during its primary all-sky survey. In August of this year, the mission was revived to hunt more asteroids, and renamed NEOWISE.

Not all of the asteroids are easy to see, but some stand out as a series of dots. Each dot in a track shows one asteroid, captured at different times as it marched across the sky. The asteroid at center left is called (2415) Ganesa.

Clusters of stars can also be seen; for example, NGC 2158 glitters like a jeweled brooch at center right. There are about 2,500 stars in this view, which is about 30 light-years across.

Clouds of gas and dust surround the region, visible only in infrared light.

These data were acquired in March 2010, before WISE was put into hibernation in 2011.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

Note: For more information, see NEOWISE Celebrates First Month of Operations After Reactivation.

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