Images must be woven together from the incoming data from the cameras, cleaned up and given colors that bring out features that eyes would otherwise miss. In this video from HubbleSite, a Hubble-imaged galaxy comes together on the screen.
They’re not just ‘pretty space pics’ there is a lot of work going on before the end result. And this is an idea of how it happens.
We did a basic version of this at space camp. It was really fun.
I always love these photographs. But I feel kind of weird knowing they are altered and would not appear this way to the human eye if we were in the position to view these galaxies from a closer location. It kind of gives me the same feeling as dyed/polished rocks do. Yeah, they are pretty colors and shiny and stand out, but I want something that’s real. I used to collect rocks/ minerals and I never wanted something so altered it didn’t represent the rocks natural state. I wanted it in the form that it was found.
The difference here is that in order to even show these images it requires human tools and technology, so there is already an element of human interference just to be able to see these images. In that way I can accept the digital manipulation to some extent. But I still wish they would stick to showing us galaxies as they would appear to the naked eye.