Hundreds of cosmic objects swarming around the Earth are brought to life in an intimidating new NASA visualization based on the latest data from their asteroid hunting mission.
NEOWISE has mapped nearly 30,000 objects since its reopening in 2013, including 788 near-Earth objects and 136 comets. Ten of the objects discovered by NEOWISE last year alone were classified as potentially dangerous asteroids (PHAs).
READ MORE: Soccer Field-sized Asteroid ZOOMS Dangerously Close to Earth
NASA's latest animation is based on findings made with the telescope in the last four years of surveying the solar system. The green dots represent near-Earth asteroids, while the yellow dots represent comets.
A "near-Earth object" is defined as an asteroid or comet whose orbit crosses with that of the Earth and can therefore pose a threat. They can range in length from meters to tens of kilometers. Near-Earth objects are considered potentially hazardous because of their size and their proximity to Earth orbit.
More than 2.5 million infrared images of the sky were collected from the survey last year and added to previous data years. Complete an archive of 1
Do you know our neighbors? The near-earth-object wide-field infrared survey explorer and IPAC present the NEOWISE 2018 Data Release. The archive now contains over 10.2 million calibrated image sets and a database of over 76.8 billion source detections. https://t.co/rfrqMrXGaQpic.twitter.com/VMYUU5pwe8
– Caltech IPAC (@caltechipac) April 19, 2018
The spacecraft was put into hibernation in February 2011 completed his search for the inner solar system, but was reactivated in December 2013 and discovered his first potentially dangerous near-Earth asteroid, 2013 YP139, just six days later.
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