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NASA telescope discovers 95 'near Earth' asteroids

Worried about asteroids threatening the Earth? One of NASA's newest space telescopes has spotted 25,000 new ones in just six months.

Ninety-five of those are considered "near Earth".

But in the language of astronomy that means within 30 million miles. Luckily for us, none poses any threat to Earth anytime soon.

Called WISE for Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, the telescope completes its first full scan of the sky on Saturday and then begins another round of imaging. What's special about WISE is its ability to see through impenetrable veils of dust, picking up the heat glow of objects that are invisible to regular telescopes.

"Most telescopes focus on the hottest and brightest objects in the universe," said a spokesman. "WISE is especially sensitive to seeing, what you could call the stealth objects of the universe."

By the end of the year, researchers expect to have a cosmic census of millions of newfound objects. Besides all those asteroids, WISE has also sighted 15 new comets.

hnews@herald.ie


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