The Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer at IPAC

The NEOWISE 2021 Data Release
March 24, 2021

Access the Database and Image data via IRSA Read the Explanatory Supplement
Top Ten List of things you should know about the NEOWISE Release Products
NEOWISE Project website
NEOWISE mission description paper
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Contact the WISE/NEOWISE Help Desk

The NEOWISE 2021 Data Release makes available the 3.4 and 4.6 μm (W1 and W2) Single-exposure images and extracted source information that were acquired between December 13, 2019 and December 13, 2020 UTC, the seventh year of survey operations of the Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer Reactivation Mission (NEOWISE; Mainzer et al. 2014, ApJ, 792, 30). The seventh year NEOWISE data products are concatenated with those from the first six years (originally released on March 26, 2015, March 23, 2016, June 1, 2017, April 19, 2018, April 11, 2019, and March 26, 2020) into a single archive so that all data can be queried easily at one time.

NEOWISE scanned the sky nearly fourteen complete times during the first seven years of survey operations, with six months separating survey passes. Twelve or more independent exposures are made on each point on the sky during each survey epoch. Therefore, the NEOWISE archive is a time-domain resource for extracting multiple thermal flux and position measurements of solar system small bodies, as well as background stars and galaxies.

The combined NEOWISE Data Release products from the first seven years of survey operations include:


Figure 1 - Top-down view of the Solar System showing the position on December 25, 2020 of all asteroids and comets detected by NEOWISE during the first seven years of the Reactivation Mission. The blue circles and points indicate the orbits and locations of Mercury, Venus and Mars. The Earth and its orbit are shown in cyan. Filled gray circles are Main Belt asteroids, filled green circles are Near Earth asteroids and the filled yellow squares are comets. The red square denotes the position of comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE). The white points indicate the objects detected during the last week of the seventh year of surveying. The tick marks on the x and y axes are in increments of 1 AU.

NEOWISE utilizes the Wide-Field Infrared Explorer (WISE; Wright et al. 2010, AJ, 140, 1868) spacecraft that surveyed the entire sky in 2010 with a cryogenically cooled 40 cm telescope and four 1kx1k mid-infrared array detectors operating at 3.4, 4.6, 12 and 22 μm. WISE continued to survey for four months following the exhaustion of its solid hydrogen cryogen in September 2010 using its two short wavelength bands. After completing a survey of the inner main asteroid belt and a second coverage of the sky, WISE was placed into hibernation in February 2011.

The WISE spacecraft was brought out of hibernation in September 2013 and renamed NEOWISE with a mission to detect and characterize asteroids and comets, and to learn more about the population of near-Earth objects that could pose an impact hazard to the Earth. The spacecraft was returned to zenith pointing which enabled the telescope and focal plane to passively cool down to approximately 73 K. Survey operations were resumed on December 13, 2013 UTC with the W1 and W2 detectors operating at sensitivities near those of the original cryogenic survey. The first solar system moving object tracklet candidates were reported to the IAU Minor Planet Center on December 26, and tracklet deliveries are made three times per week. NEOWISE continues to survey the sky, and as of March 2021 has acquired over 1,087,000 confirmed infrared detections of approximately 38,700 different solar system objects.

The NEOWISE Reactivation Mission is funded by the NASA Planetary Science Division. Planetary science and planetary defense research using NEOWISE data are eligible for proposals to the NASA ROSES Solar System Workings, Planetary Data Archiving, Restoration and Tools, and Yearly Opportunities for Research in Planetary Defense Programs. Astrophysics research using NEOWISE data is eligible for proposals to the NASA ROSES Astrophysics Data Analysis Program.



Please use this acknowledgement in any published material that makes use of NEOWISE data products:

"This publication makes use of data products from the Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE), which is a joint project of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology and the University of Arizona. NEOWISE is funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration."


Last update - 2021 March 2