1. A star cluster in black and white vs. colour.
The Hubble Space Telescope’s cameras take individual images for different wavelengths of light and then astronomers combine them to create space images like these. The individual frames themselves aren’t in colour, but by combining images taken through different filters and giving each one a colour they can make the amazingly detailed space pictures we all know and love.
This is star cluster NGC 346. The black and white image on the left reveals some of the nebula’s structure, but it really comes to life in the colour image on the right, which is a combination of optical and infrared wavelengths.
2. The Sombrero galaxy in visible light vs infrared.
The picture on the left is a mixture of three different wavelengths of light that are visible to the eye. On the right, infrared wavelengths (that you wouldn’t be able to see) are coloured red and green, highlighting features of the galaxy that would otherwise be invisible.
Hubble observed the galaxy in visible wavelengths, and the Spitzer Space Telescope took the images for the infrared parts.
3. A star-forming nebula in visible light vs. infrared.
NGC 2174 is a nebula where there is intense star formation going on. The left image shows it in visible wavelengths, whereas the right shows it in infrared. Infrared light gets through more dust than visible light so it shows more detail from inside the nebula. You can also see several more distant galaxies in the background of the infrared image.
4. Horsehead Nebula in visible light vs. infrared.
The left image is in visible light, taken using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile. The image on the right was taken by Hubble and shows the nebula in the infrared.
5. The Pinwheel Galaxy in visible light vs. infrared.
On the left is Hubble’s image of the Pinwheel Galaxy (also called Messier 101) in visible light. The right shows Spitzer’s image of it in infrared. The red patches in the infrared image show regions where tons of hot, young stars are forming.
6. A massive galaxy cluster with a dark matter map.
The blue haze on this image of a massive galaxy cluster known as El Gordo is actually a mass map that shows where dark matter is lurking within it. Scientists figured it out by looking at how galaxies in the image are distorted by the dark matter’s gravity. X-ray observations from 2011 are shown in pink and helped scientists work out that the cluster was unusually big for its time. According to NASA, it’s actually a merger between two smaller clusters.
7. A starburst galaxy in visible and infrared vs. x-ray observations.
The image of galaxy M82 on the left was taken by Hubble and combines visible and infrared wavelengths. The image on the right combines visible, infrared and x-ray images from three observatories: Hubble, Spitzer and the Chandra X-ray Observatory. X-ray data is shown in blue and infrared is in red.
8. Crab Nebula in visible light vs. infrared and x-ray.
The image on the left is a Hubble composite. On the right is a combination of images from Hubble, Spitzer and Chandra. The x-rays are in blue, infrared in red and visible wavelengths in dark blue and green. The bright dot at the centre of the image is a neutron star that lies at the heart of the Crab nebula and spins 30 times a second.
9. The Pillars of Creation in visible light vs. infrared.
The image on the left shows the pillars in visible light, whereas the only on the right shows them in infrared. You can see stars forming inside the nebula (and an entire backdrop of stars) in the infrared version more clearly as the light pierces through the dust.
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In conclusion, look at all the staaaaaaars.
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