NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope was launched 10 years ago and has since peeled back an infrared veil on the Cosmos. The mission has worked in parallel with NASA’s other “Great Observatories” (Hubble and Chandra) to provide coverage of the emissions from galaxies, interstellar dust, comet tails and the solar system’s planets. But some of the most striking imagery to come from the orbiting telescope has been that of nebulae. Supernova remnants, star-forming regions and planetary nebulae are some of the most iconic objects to be spotted by Spitzer. So, to celebrate a decade in space, here are Discovery News’ favorite Spitzer nebulae.
First up, the Helix Nebula — a so-called planetary nebula — located around 700 light-years from Earth. A planetary nebula is the remnants of the death throes of a red giant star — all that remains is a white dwarf star in the core, clouded by cometary dust.
NASA/JPL-CALTECH/K. SU (UNIV. OF ARIZONA)