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This is a mosaic of the images covering the entire sky as observed by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), part of its All-Sky Data Release. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

The WISE mission started on December 14, 2009 with the launch of the Space Telescope using a Delta II rocket. The WISE regularly entered in a polar orbit at about 525 km (325 miles) of altitude and began its observations of the sky with its 40 cm (16 inches) diameter infrared telescope. This instrument was built to obtain images a thousand times more sensitive than the similar telescopes previously used.