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Pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope

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  • Pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope

    There was a story in my local paper today( picked up from the LA Times) reporting that all of those beautiful technicolor images of the universe are actually black and white photos colorized and "reconstructed" for public consumption. I never remember coming across that information before.

    I guess that I'm a product of too many Star Wars type movies but I honestly never questioned the integrity of the photographs which I really loved. If I thought about it, it would have been obvious that they would not have looked like that( the problem with their being color for one thing).

    Apparently the Hubble sends its snapshots back to earth in grainy black and white and the artists take it from there. No mention of the digital imaging program they use by the way to produce the enhanced photos.

    Oh well, who can you trust anymore.

    Paulette

  • #2
    It's my understanding that most Hubble photos are "false color" not for the purpose of making pretty pictures, but for very good scientific reasons. The different colors often represent wavelengths that are beyond our visible range (x-ray, ultraviolet, etc...) and the false coloring helps scientists to identify various elements present in stars, nebulas, etc... In fact, most astronomy is done at wavelengths beyond our visible range....that's where all the interesting stuff is! So, any visual representation of that data is going to be inherently innaccurate from what our eyes would see.

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    • #3
      You forgot the doppler effect
      Depending upon how fast a star is moving away, the frequency of the em waves change(reduce). So what is "the real frequency" even if they were to emit only visible light?

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      • #4
        Don't get me wrong, I think that the artistry and presentation of the images are truly stunning and I will still keep my poster of it up. I am just disappointed with myself that I thought that was how outer space really looked. It was very naive of me but it's been many years since I've had physics and I didn't think it through.

        When I pick up a magazine cover I know that there was manipulation going on and I accept it but when I see a news photograph in a reputable newspaper I expect that it has not been digitally altered. I suppose that same expectation extended to the pictures from the Hubble.


        How about those images from Mars anyone?

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