Telescope carrying Cardiff instrument is turned off

Herschel's instruments were cooled with liquid Helium which is now exhausted

Credit: ESA/PACS & SPIRE Consortia, T. Hill, F. Motte, Laboratoire AIM Paris-Saclay, CEA/IRFU – CNRS/INSU – Uni. Paris Diderot, HOBYS Key Programme Consortium

The Herschel space telescope, which carries the SPIRE instrument built with expertise from Cardiff, has been switched off.

It was launched in 2009 and SPIRE, along with two other instruments and a massive mirror, made it the most powerful infrared observatory ever built.

Herschel has produced some stunning images: Horsehead Nebula

Credits: ESA/Herschel/PACS, SPIRE/N. Schneider, Ph. André, V. Könyves (CEA Saclay, France) for the “Gould Belt survey” Key Programme

Cardiff University astronomers led the international team that designed, built and operated SPIRE. There are still years of data to be examined.

It is helping astronomers understand how the Universe came to be what it is today.

The 7m long telescope is being "parked" in a safe orbit.