Friday, February 12, 2010

WISE NEO and filtering images

The WISE infrared telescope was launched on Dec 14, 2009 into Earth orbit and its mission is to find relatively cool objects which include asteroids and comets. Wise recently announced the discovery of a NEO and a comet. It is sometimes difficult to see these objects among a field of stars as in the WISE images but it is not difficult to design a filter to select the objects of interest. A typical color image consists of separate red, green and blue images. The image below was filtered by selecting pixels with some red and in addition 10 times the amount of blue was less than the red. If one looks closely one can see a large number of faint red objects. The bright object in the center of the image is the NEO.

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