The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (wise): Mission description and initial on-orbit performance

Edward L. Wright, Peter R.M. Eisenhardt, Amy K. Mainzer, Michael E. Ressler, Roc M. Cutri, Thomas Jarrett, J. Davy Kirkpatrick, Deborah Padgett, Robert S. McMillan, Michael Skrutskie, S. A. Stanford, Martin Cohen, Russell G. Walker, John C. Mather, David Leisawitz, Thomas N. Gautier, Ian McLean, Dominic Benford, Carol J. Lonsdale, Andrew BlainBryan Mendez, William R. Irace, Valerie Duval, Fengchuan Liu, Don Royer, Ingolf Heinrichsen, Joan Howard, Mark Shannon, Martha Kendall, Amy L. Walsh, Mark Larsen, Joel G. Cardon, Scott Schick, Mark Schwalm, Mohamed Abid, Beth Fabinsky, Larry Naes, Chao Wei Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5940 Scopus citations


The all sky surveys done by the Palomar Observatory Schmidt, the European Southern Observatory Schmidt, and the United Kingdom Schmidt, the InfraRed Astronomical Satellite, and the Two Micron All Sky Survey have proven to be extremely useful tools for astronomy with value that lasts for decades. The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) is mapping the whole sky following its launch on 2009 December 14. WISE began surveying the sky on 2010 January 14 and completed its first full coverage of the sky on July 17. The survey will continue to cover the sky a second time until the cryogen is exhausted (anticipated in 2010 November). WISE is achieving 5σ point source sensitivities better than 0.08, 0.11, 1, and 6 mJy in unconfused regions on the ecliptic in bands centered at wavelengths of 3.4, 4.6, 12, and 22μm. Sensitivity improves toward the ecliptic poles due to denser coverage and lower zodiacal background. The angular resolution is 6″.1, 6″.4, 6″.5, and 12″.0 at 3.4, 4.6, 12, and 22μm, and the astrometric precision for high signal-to-noise sources is better than 0″.15.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1868-1881
Number of pages14
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Infrared: general
  • Space vehicles
  • Surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (wise): Mission description and initial on-orbit performance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this