WISE has discovered two brown dwarfs and 11,000 new asteroids so far

Sunday, May 30, 2010

WISE hasn't issued a press release on this but I found two articles yesterday on what WISE has been up to recently, and according to this one it has discovered two brown dwarfs so far and from this article the total number of new asteroids it has discovered is at about 11,000 with the number discovered per day at about 100.

First the brown dwarfs: one reason why a big deal has not yet been made of this discovery is that the distance to them is not yet known. WISE is scanning the whole sky a bit at a time, and thus is only able to take quick snapshots of the regions of the sky it observes which are then followed up by observations by other telescopes which then confirm the discoveries and find out more about them. The big discovery we are all hoping WISE will make is the presence of a brown dwarf at about just one or two light years away, so if that happens then expect to hear all about it. According to the article it's looking at many more possible brown dwarf candidates so we simply have to wait for other telescopes to find out more about these possible discoveries before we know for sure what they are. Thus far we just know that their names are WISE 1 and WISE 2 and one has a temperature of about 800 Kelvin, the other somewhat cooler.

The second article on the asteroid discoveries also includes this video (that I would have embedded into the post but it seems to want to auto-start) on the types of asteroids that have been discovered.

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