Asteroid Tracks Among the Stars
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.
JPL manages NEOWISE for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at the agency's headquarters in Washington. The Space Dynamics Laboratory in Logan, Utah, built the science instrument. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. of Boulder, Colo., built the spacecraft. Science operations and data processing take place at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.