A New Solar Neighbor
A nearby star stands out in red in this image from the Second Generation Digitized Sky Survey. The star, called WISEA J204027.30+695924.1, was initially discovered using data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), which scanned the entire sky in infrared light in 2010 and early 2011, before ending its primary mission.
Objects that are close to us will appear to move more than distant objects when viewed over time. By comparing images taken by WISE six months apart, astronomers are finding thousands of stars and brown dwarfs in our sun's "backyard."
The star WISEA J204027.30+695924.1 is a dim star called an L-subdwarf, and is particularly fast moving most likely because it's old. Older stars tend to have more time -- billions of years -- to get flung around, and pick up speed.
This image is color coded as blue (B-band, 4,500 Angstroms), green (R-band, 6,600 Angstroms), and red (I-band, 8,000 Angstroms). The field is five by five arcminutes on a side with north up and east to the left.
The Second Generation Digitized Sky Survey images were made from digitized versions of photographic plates taken by the Palomar Observatory near San Diego, Calif.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages and operates the recently activated NEOWISE asteroid-hunting mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. The results presented here are from the WISE all-sky survey mission, which operated before NEOWISE, using the same spacecraft, in 2010 and 2011. WISE was selected competitively under NASA's Explorers Program managed by the agency's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The science instrument was built by the Space Dynamics Laboratory in Logan, Utah. The spacecraft was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo. Science operations and data processing take place at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.