The Orion Nebula is a massive cloud of gas and particles out in space, and like most things out in space it is stunningly beautiful. Just look at it in this new image pieced together from photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. There is some heavy image editing going on here to highlight different features and types of gas, but that doesn’t make this astrophotograph any less gorgeous.
The original images were taken using the “Hubble Palette,” which is a feature of the Hubble that allows it to take images within very narrow wavelengths of light. Since the range of light that we humans can see is pretty limited, the Hubble Palette lets us see details we’d miss with our eyes alone. Combining images taken at different wavelengths results in beautiful images like this.
Gary Gonnella took the Hubble Palette images of the nebula, and Paul M. Hutchinson did the work of compositing them together. Hutchinson used different colors to represent different aspects of the nebula. The colors break down as Hydrogen Alpha shown in green, S in red, and O in blue. The image is composited from two exposures of the nebula, one at ten seconds and the other a full minute. This allowed Hutchinson to show details of parts of the nebula with different brightness without the image appearing blown out or too dark.
Take a look at the full image here:
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- There’s even a “Christmas Ornament” nebula
- We’ve discovered a brand new type of stellar explosion
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