Our view of the Universe just grew quite a bit more detailed as NASA JPL released the compendium of results from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer orbital telescope. WISE was launched into a 525 km orbit on December 14, 2009 and gathered data until the WISE team ran out of funding on February 17, 2011.
With hardware over 1,000 times more sensitive than prior infrared space surveys, WISE surveyed 99 percent of the sky at 4 different wavelengths. Over 15 terabytes of data and 2.7 million images revealed 560 million stars, galaxies, comets, asteroids, and various other objects too cool or red-shifted to show up in anything but the infrared. Astronomers saw Y-dwarfs for the first time, which are white dwarf stars that have become nearly invisible as they cooled. The first Earth trojan asteroid also revealed itself to WISE—it scouts Earth’s orbit 60 degrees ahead of us around the Sun.