The Iris Nebula is captured here by Spitzer. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope was launched in 2003 on a mission to spend five years exploring the cosmos in infrared light. That means it excels at capturing images and chemical signatures of warm objects, like the glow of gas in nebulas and galaxies, or the composition of planets in still-forming alien solar systems. It even found a new ring of Saturn.
In recent years, it’s been operating with just one instrument,