MSX Archive Access

The Midcourse Space Experiment (MSX)

MSX, a Ballistic Missile Defense Organization satellite, was launched in April 1996 into a 900 km altitude semi-sun synchronous orbit. The satellite was five meters long and weighed 2700 kg. The first ten months of the mission were devoted to mid-infrared observations with a solid hydrogen cooled telescope. This instrument had five line scanned focal plane arrays that spanned the spectral region from 4.2 to 26 microns. The point response "footprint" was ~35 times smaller than the IRAS 12 micron detectors and the sensitivity in the MSX 8.3 micron band about four times more sensitive, as demonstrated in the figures below. These figures show the IRAS observations, on the left, and the MSX 8.3 micron map of a 1 degree x 1 degree field, 1 degree above the Galactic Center. The IRAS images were created from a single set of HCON scans processed in such a manner as to preserve the footprint of the detectors. Over 200 Gigabytes of astronomy data were obtained on 230 measurements during the 10 month cryogenic phase of the MSX mission.

The MSX astronomy experiments included mapping the entire Galactic Plane and surveying the IRAS gaps. Raster scan mapping provided deep surveys of selected regions in the Galactic Plane, primarily in the inner Galaxy, large molecular clouds, H II regions and other areas of star formation as well as asteroids and comets. Source catalogs from the Galactic Plane and IRAS gaps surveys and, separately, the Large Magellanic Cloud are available as well as a preliminary explanatory supplement. The Air Force Research Laboratory also created full resolution images and large scale panoramas of the Galactic Plane. These images in four mid-infrared colors are also available in this release.

The following data are now available for FTP download:

These experiments are processed and analyzed by :

  • Steve Price (PI, Air Force Research Laboratory)
  • Mike Egan (AFRL)
  • Sean Carey (Boston College)
  • Don Mizuno (BC)
  • Tom Kuchar (BC)
  • Dale Sinclair (AFRL)

To report problems with MSX services at IPAC, contact the IRSA Help Desk.