This is the website for NASA's Wide Field Infrared Explorer (WIRE) at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center. The primary purpose of WIRE was a four month infrared survey of the universe, focusing specifically on starburst galaxies and luminous protogalaxies. WIRE was launched in March 1999, but was unable to carry out its primary science mission. Spacecraft operations were redirected to use the onboard star tracker for long-term monitoring of bright stars in support of two separate science programs: astroseismology and planet-finding. The astroseismology program was intended to measure oscillations in nearby stars to probe their structure. The planet-finding program searched for stellar occultations by large planetary bodies as they pass through WIRE's line-of-sight to its target star. Over time, WIRE operations were transferred from Goddard Space Flight Center to Bowie State University's Satellite Operations and Control Center.
The first astroseismology results on the red giant star Alpha UMa are available and have been published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters (2000 April 1, vol 532, L133). A companion theory paper has been published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters (2000 February 10, vol 530, L45). A complete list of targets observed through September 2000 and a bibliography of papers based on the data are available on this page .
An analysis of WIRE ACS performance was presented at the 2000 AAS/AIAA Flight Mechanics meeting. A preprint is available. The analysis in this paper demonstrates the excellent pointing performance (1.6 arcsec pointing stability) of the WIRE spacecraft.
Although the solid-hydrogen cryogen in the instrument was rapidly depleted, the early hours of the mission demonstrated that WIRE's focal plane arrays achieved the on-orbit design temperature of 6.5 K.
WIRE re-entered the atmosphere on 10 May 2011 at approximately 07:00 GMT.
The WIRE Website as it existed at the time of launch is available by following the buttons on the left or immediately below. There are links to two separate sections of the old website to make it easier to find what you are looking for. The first section is designed for professional astronomers and engineers, or those who are familiar with astronomy and the terminology commonly used. The second section is for the beginning astronomer, or someone who is not as familiar with common astronomical terms and theory. The "Wire Team Webpages" section is for internal WIRE team use only and is password-protected. Please select the appropriate section. You can always switch back if you choose the wrong one.
Last Updated: 10 May 2011