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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Utah State's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer blasts off

Utah State's Wide‐field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) a "state‐of‐the‐art infrared instrument to
 scan the sky with far better sensitivity and resolution than previous space‐based instruments" was launched
today on a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket.  "WISE will capture millions of images
 and provide scientists with a comprehensive map of the infrared universe that contains hundreds
 of millions of space objects." (source: )

"The WISE payload stands over 6 feet tall and weighs nearly 800 lbs. Based on designs from
 the SDL‐developed SPIRIT III and WIRE payloads, WISE features a 40‐cm all‐reflective
imaging telescope housed in a solid‐hydrogen cryostat, and utilizes four 1024 X 1024 pixel
infrared focal plane arrays.
The instrument includes:
  • 2 HgCdTe arrays for the 3.3 and 4.7 micron channels
  • 2 Si:As arrays for the 12 and 23 micron channels
  • A 40‐cm telescope and re‐imaging optics (achieving 6‐12 arc second diffraction‐limited 
  • resolution across the spectral band)
  • A cryogenic scan mirror to stabilize the line‐of‐sight while each image is taken
  • A two‐stage solid‐hydrogen cryostat to cool optics to ~11 Kelvin and detectors to
  •  ~7.3 Kelvin
The instrument will have an on‐orbit lifetime of ~10 months, facilitating one‐and‐a‐half full
sky surveys."

For more information on WISE visit the following website:

To watch a video of the launch of WISE visit:

I hope this mission is a big success and discovers new objects in space which will fascinate astronomers
and astronomy hobbyists for years to come!

Photo by Bill Hartenstein, United Launch Alliance

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.