WISE Sees Asteroid in Beautiful Nebula

The telescope entered inactive status earlier this year

NASA recently released an image showing the asteroid 1719 Jens as it made it way through a massive star-forming region in the Auriga Constellation. The region lies some 12,000 light-years, so it was only through the most sensitive infrared telescope ever built that the space rock was discovered.

The Tadpole Nebula was images using the American space agency's Wide Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), an infrared observatory that conducted observations in four different wavelength bands before being retired from active service earlier this year.

During its active life, the telescope observed tens of thousands of objects, including never-before-seen space rocks in our own solar system's asteroid belt. This image reveals two natural satellite that orbit Earth above WISE's location.

The asteroid 1719 Jens was discovered in 1950, and is located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. It completes a full orbit around the Sun every 4.3 years, and is about 19 kilometers (12 miles) in diameter.

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