This infrared view of the whole sky highlights the flat plane of our Milky Way galaxy (line across middle of image). The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, will take a similar infrared census of the whole sky, only with much improved resolution and sensitivity.
The image was compiled using data from several past missions: the Infrared Astronomical Satellite, a joint project of the United States, United Kingdom and the Netherlands; NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer; and the Two-Micron All-Sky Survey, a NASA, National Science Foundation and University of Massachusetts project.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The mission's principal investigator, Edward Wright, is at UCLA. The mission was competitively selected under NASA's Explorers Program managed by the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The science instrument was built by the Space Dynamics Laboratory, Logan, Utah, and the spacecraft was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. 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.