Oh my god, it's full of stars...
August 13, 2006 7:05 AM   Subscribe

posted by MetaMonkey at 7:31 AM on August 13, 2006

God yeah. It amazes me the amount of beauty out there in the cosmos sometimes.
posted by vernondalhart at 8:04 AM on August 13, 2006

Does anyone know how much of these images are raw "what I would see if I was there" and how much is processed to enhance scientific or visual aesthetics?
posted by PissOnYourParade at 8:21 AM on August 13, 2006

POYP, I think all of the images on the linked page are processed to the hilt. My old roommate used to work for the Hubble telescope project, and while he wasn't always the most talkative fellow, he eventually told me enough that I came to understand that the photos they release are a kind of composite image drawn from several different types of cameras each specifically tuned to various light spectra. These processed images are a synthesis of the information from those various cameras, presumably with a fair amount of eye-candy color enhancement thrown in for good measure.
posted by Lee Marvin at 8:35 AM on August 13, 2006

sweet! the first picture in the very last row contains the "cosmic finger of friendship!"
posted by joeblough at 8:50 AM on August 13, 2006

Amazing. Thanks, Orange Goblin.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:52 AM on August 13, 2006

[append Lee Marvin's post] - Hubble captures three different wavelengths of light - Optical, ultraviolet, and Near-Infrared. These three spectra are usually captured simultaneously, then overlaid, but not to the point of 'cheating' -- i.e. there isn't much accentuation via photoshop filters to enhance contrast.

It still seems to have caught much more beauty than any space telescope yet, though in a few years SpitzerThe Spitzer Space Telescope will probably trump it in both number of pretty pictures and amount observational data gained.
posted by phylum sinter at 9:03 AM on August 13, 2006

Whoa, top of the Hubble pops! What a treat. Thank you Orange Goblin.

Remember when Earth Rising was the only exciting picture of outer space? Dang, that doesn't seem so long ago.

Thanks for asking, PissOnYourParade, and for the excellent answers, Lee Marvin and phylum sinter, that's exactly what I wanted to know. Much appreciated.
posted by nickyskye at 9:12 AM on August 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

posted by Ritchie at 9:15 AM on August 13, 2006

These images make religion seem even more the terrible relic of war and oppression, worthless under the infinite stars.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 9:23 AM on August 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

The universe is a crazy toybox
posted by CynicalKnight at 9:26 AM on August 13, 2006

The Hubble Ultra Deep Field^ (in visible light): 10,000 galaxies in an area 1/10th the diameter of the full Moon. Assembled from 800 separate exposures of nearly 16 days total exposure time, taken during 400 Hubble orbits. The furthest objects may go back 13 billion years.

Wonder what it looks like right now?
posted by cenoxo at 9:28 AM on August 13, 2006

Thanks, OrangeGoblin. I've often used the images from the always wonderful Astronomy Picture Of The Day as my wallpapers, and the HST images have always been my favorites. Having all the HST images on one page is great; no more waiting for the HST day to cycle through.
posted by stonedcoldsober at 9:30 AM on August 13, 2006

The colors in Hubble images, which are assigned for various reasons, aren't always what we'd see if we were able to visit the imaged objects in a spacecraft. We often use color as a tool, whether it is to enhance an object's detail or to visualize what ordinarily could never be seen by the human eye.

What worries me is we have a bunch of Boris Vallejo fans in charge of the worlds most powerful camera - this is the triumph of science ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:39 AM on August 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

We have a bunch of guys who know if they don't offer to the public something pretty, they'll lose funding. Rest assured that there are copies of the original untouched photographs somewhere being used by scientists to figure out whatever it is scientists would be figuring out. These images released to the public are just for show, to perpetuate a public interest and increase potential funding. So they can keep their jobs.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:13 AM on August 13, 2006

this is an excellent link.
thank you for the new collection of wallpapers.
posted by Busithoth at 10:16 AM on August 13, 2006

ZachsMind, they use these images for study as well. In a lot of the images they'll assign near-infrared or ultraviolet to one of the color channels. So instead of seeing red green blue as red green blue, we're seeing red ultraviolet blue as red green blue or something similar. This is what Lee Marvin and Phylum Sinter were talking about. The untouched photos aren't as useful since they have to shift the wavelengths we can't see into the visible range and it's the wavelengths we can't see that usually have more information. I'm not saying they never make a real pretty picture for just that reason, only because I don't know, but they most certainly do use these pictures for study.
posted by Phantomx at 10:46 AM on August 13, 2006

Astronomy porn.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:01 AM on August 13, 2006

Bandwidth Exceeded. :(

posted by owhydididoit at 11:10 AM on August 13, 2006

Thanks Orange Goblin
posted by Cranberry at 11:14 AM on August 13, 2006

How long does it take before the bandwidth fairies grant more access? (Or is there a mirror?)
posted by pax digita at 11:58 AM on August 13, 2006

Go Bananas!
posted by techgnollogic at 4:05 PM on August 13, 2006

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