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10 images from NASA's Spitzer telescope

By: Katherine Butler on Nov. 9, 2011, 9:22 a.m.
bright colors in space

Photo: Spitzer Science Center/California Institute of Technology

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New view of the great nebula in Carina

The Spitzer Space Telescope was launched in 2003. Hopes were that the mission could extend beyond five years, but in May 2009, the onboard supply of helium ran out. As a result, the space telescope is now in its "warm" mission. Without helium to cool them, the instruments are no longer usable. Spitzer is now about to start "Cycle 8" of the project, meaning it will operate at a more limited function. Here Spitzer has photographed the Carina Nebula, which contains a star that is 100 times as massive and a million times as bright as our sun.