Crafting a Hubble galaxy in two minutes

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
March 24 2011 12:00 PM

Crafting a Hubble galaxy in two minutes

Have you ever wondered how those gorgeous Hubble pictures of distant cosmic objects are made?

Well, lucky you! My old pal Tiffany Borders alerted me to a video she and some other folks at the Space Telescope Science Institute put together. It's a delightful whirlwind tour of how they go from digital data to stunning shots, using screenshots tied together into a two-minute frenetic animation:

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

Advertisement


How cool is that? I'll note that when astronomers actually do science with the images, they use the raw data which is processed very carefully to maintain the data's integrity. The beautiful pictures made the way shown in the video are for show... but I've found that they can help guide the eye to features you might miss in the individual images, too. So this isn't just Photoshop trickery!

The galaxy in the video is the spectacular spiral NGC 3982, which I described in a little more detail when this image came out last year. Coincidentally, in that post I focused more on how the image was constructed than the science in it (though I have links there describing spiral galaxies).

And who knew Khachaturian would go so well with constructing Hubble images? Actually, I did -- when I worked on Hubble data I listened to a lot of music, and that included Khachaturian's Gayane suite -- oh, how it makes my Slavic DNA sing! Nice to see it still fits, too.



Related posts:


TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 20 2014 1:50 PM Why We Shouldn’t Be Too Sure About the Supposed Deal to Return the Abducted Nigerian Schoolgirls
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 20 2014 3:12 PM Terror Next Door Prudie advises a letter writer whose husband is dangerously, violently obsessed with the neighbors.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 1:10 PM Women Are Still Losing Jobs for Getting Pregnant
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.