Space pictures weren't always so pretty. David Malin, a scientist at a telescope facility in Australia, did the pioneering work in color visualization more than 20 years ago. He figured out how to use black-and-white photographic film and color filters to create full-color visualizations. The modern master of the field is Zoltan Levay, who works on images sent down from the Hubble.
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Explainer thanks Robert Hurt of the Spitzer Science Center and Frank Summers of the Space Telescope Science Institute.