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How are space images from telescopes turned into astronomical photographs?

resonance: 31.2% from: robg

There's an interesting review here [1] of the graphic illustration process that goes into space "photographs".

What's most amazing to me is how natural the photographs feel even after all this processing. Perhaps it's because we can't just go on a tour of the Andromedia Galaxy as we would Yosemite. But the space photographs feel intuitively as if we'd see exactly the image as portrayed if we were cruising in our intergalactic station wagon. The photographs are certainly misleading in this respect, but the sheer wonder displayed, especially at the respective sizes of the phenomena captured, make these images an easy win for science. But we'll leave aside the interesting question of how these events actually would look to the human eye and whether that's even a scientific question!

If you'd like to play with original telescope images, you can find some here from the Spitzer Space Telescope [2].

[1] http://www.slate.com/id/2227828/pagenum/all/

[2] http://data.spitzer.caltech.edu/popular/

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