At 15:09 ET today, NASA sent a signal to decommission the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) after ten years of tireless work shooting the galaxy in lower Earth orbit. NASA says GALEX will float around for another 65 years before it re-enters the Earth's atmosphere and essentially self-destructs.
It appears as though funding issues are behind the telescopes demise, which is quite the bummer considering all of its accomplishments:
— Discovering a gargantuan, comet-like tail behind a speeding star called Mira.
— Catching a black hole "red-handed" as it munched on a star.
— Finding giant rings of new stars around old, dead galaxies.
— Independently confirming the nature of dark energy.
— Discovering a missing link in galaxy evolution — the teenage galaxies transitioning from young to old.
In honor of GALEX's retirement, here are some of its greatest works in no particular order.
NGC 7293 aka Helix Nebula
Cygnus Loop Nebula
Fare thee well, Galaxy Hunter. [NASA]