10 Dazzling Images From the WISE Telescope

Flaming star nebula

NASA/JPL-Caltech/WISE Team.

On Dec. 14, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) telescope celebrated the one-year anniversary of its launch into space. Since then, the WISE telescope has captured hundreds of millions of asteroids, stars, galaxies and other celestial bodies.

Here are four new dazzling images from the scope plus six images taken over the past year.

This WISE image depicts the flaming star nebula, which is about 1,500 light-years from the Auriga constellation. The nebula gets its name from the star located at its center, the AE Aurigae, which appears to be blazing.

Jellyfish nebula


This WISE images shows IC 443, also known as the jellyfish nebula, which is located 5,000 light-years away from Earth inside the Gemini constellation.

About 5,000 to 10,000 years ago, a massive star at the center exploded, forming a jellyfish-shaped shell around its remains.

Orion molecular cloud

NASA/JPL-Caltech/WISE Team.

Three nebulas contained inside the enormous Orion molecular cloud located 1,500 light-years from Earth are shown in this mosaic WISE image.

The three nebulas include the flame nebula at the center, the horsehead nebula at the lower right side of the vertical dust ridge and nebula NGC 2023, which is the bright circle in the lower half of the image.

Running chicken nebula

NASA/JPL-Caltech/WISE Team.

In the fourth photo released by NASA, the running chicken nebula, also known as nebula IC 2944 or Lambda Centauri, is shown.

Located 5,800 light-years from Earth in the Centaurus constellation, this nebula is a stellar nursery of new star clusters born from a cloud 8 million years ago. The green ring structure near the center of the image is about 77 light-years across.

Scorpion's claw

NASA/JPL-Caltech/WISE Team.

In this image released on Sep. 21, the WISE telescope captured an infrared view of nebula DG 129, gripped in the claw of the constellation Scorpius.

The bright, greenish star on the right is Pi Scorpii, which marks one of the claws of the scorpion in the constellation Scorpius. DG 129 was first catalogued in 1963 by two German astronomers named Johann Dorschner and Josef Gürtler.

Rosette nebula

NASA/JPL-Caltech/WISE Team.

This WISE image shows off the flower-shaped nebula, NGC 2237, also known as the rosette nebula.

The nebula is a massive, star-forming cloud of gas and dust located within the constellation Monoceres, or the Unicorn.

Tycho's supernova

NASA/JPL-Caltech/WISE Team.

In this image taken by the WISE telescope, Tycho's supernova, the red globe shape in the upper left, can be seen.

The supernova was named after the famous astronomer Tycho Brahe, who was one of the people who observed and recorded the supernova when it first appeared in the sky in November 1572. The exploding star was as bright as Venus and could even be seen in the daytime, but it dimmed completely over the course of two years.

It wasn't until the 1950s that astronomers were able to observe the remnants of the supernova with the help of telescopes.

Pleiades cluster

NASA/JPL-Caltech/WISE Team.

In this mosaic image containing hundreds of image frames captured by WISE, the famous Pleiades star cluster shines through an immense cloud of dust 436 light-years from Earth in the constellation Taurus.

The Pleiades is an open star cluster, which means that while its stars are bound loosely together right now, each star will eventually go its own way within a few hundred million years.


NASA/JPL-Caltech/WISE Team.

In this image taken by WISE, a bright star called Menkhib from the constellation Perseus can be seen in the upper left corner near the red dust cloud.

With a surface temperature of 66,000 degrees Fahrenheit (six times hotter than our Sun), Menkhib is one of the hottest stars visible in the night sky.

Heart and soul nebulae

NASA/JPL-Caltech/WISE Team.

In this infrared mosaic, WISE captures the vast star-forming heart and soul nebulae, located 6,000 light-years from Earth.

Spanning nearly 580 light-years across, the soul nebula, also known as the Embryo nebula, is located on the left and the jeart nebula is located on the right.