Note: For the latest Hubble processing, try my Flickr gallery. My website is updated less often.
M82 (Hubble Legacy Archive Processing)
Many times have I gazed upon this galaxy on the Hubble website or in various images by amateur astrophotographers. It’s an amazing galaxy with these tremendous red flows of hydrogen from the core and it’s big and beautiful. This mosaic was originally created by the Hubble team to celebrate the telescope’s 16th anniversary in 2006. I decided to attempt it and here is the result.
I was very surprised to discover the hydrogen filaments are a lot wispier and more delicate than I thought they were. Most images of M82 are processed to bring out maximum details in the filaments. I chose to forgo that effort because I enjoy subtlety and the smoothness of all the stars without the aggressive contrast manipulation. The result of this is, of course, a less eye-catching image. I don’t mind.
The high level science product (HLSP) available in the archive already had most of the mosaic put together, but for whatever reason the corners were cut off. I assembled the two corners on the left side but got tired of it and didn’t do the lower right. If you do all the corners you can create a slightly wider view of the galaxy like this, which is kind of cool for desktop wallpapers and things like that, even if it doesn’t add much to the composition.
Larger sizes are available at my Flickr gallery. Flickr had issues with the original size so if you choose to view the original, keep in mind it is reduced by 70%. That is still nearly 8000 pixels wide.
Red: hlsp_heritage_hst_acs-wfc_m82_f814w_v1_sci_sci + hlsp_heritage_hst_acs-wfc_m82_f658n_v1_sci_sci
North is NOT up. It is 50° counter-clockwise from up.
Inspired by insect illustration posters, this is a large collage of planetary nebulas I put together bit by bit as I processed them. All are presented north up and at apparent size relative to one another—I did not rotate or resize them in order to satisfy compositional aesthetics (if you spot any errors, let me know). Colors are aesthetic choices, especially since most planetary nebulas are imaged with narrowband filters.
How many of them can you identify?
Happy Holidays. :)
Various sizes are available at my Flickr gallery.
IRAS 17423-1755 (Hubble Legacy Archive Processing)
This is the 100th planetary nebula I have processed! Woo hoo. Lots of strange and interesting structures in this one. The dust lane looks like it’s corkscrew-shaped but I might be imagining that.
I used some WFC3/UVIS data for the nebula itself and some older WF/PC to finish off the corners to expand the star field so the composition wasn’t so closely cramped around the nebula.
Red: hst_11580_03_wfc3_uvis_f814w_sci + hst_11580_03_wfc3_uvis_f658n_sci
Green: hst_11580_03_wfc3_uvis_f656n_sci + hst_11580_03_wfc3_uvis_f555w_sci
Outer corners only:
Red: hst_06364_01_wfpc2_f814w_pc_sci + hst_06347_25_wfpc2_f658n_pc_sci
Green: hst_07285_06_wfpc2_f656n_pc_sci + hst_06364_01_wfpc2_f555w_pc_sci
North is up.
Eagle (M16) (Hubble Legacy Archive Processing)
Just for fun. This is arguably Hubble’s most famous image. A poll run at Asterisk in tandem with an APOD of the nebula asked readers if they had ever seen the image before and 95% of votes were yes.
Combining the f547m data on the green and blue channels allowed me to make the stars appear white rather than neon magenta. I also applied a good deal of sharpening. Filling the upper right corner with cloned data is tempting, but it’s not really that bad if you color the missing data similarly to the surrounding sky. Besides, I’m quite fond of the way the telescope was positioned to fit the pillars into the WFPC2’s funny framing.
Green: hst_05773_05_wfpc2_f656n_wf_sci + hst_05773_05_wfpc2_f547m_wf_sci
Blue: hst_05773_05_wfpc2_f502n_wf_sci + hst_05773_05_wfpc2_f547m_wf_sci
North is NOT up. It is 42.2° counter-clockwise from up.
Hubble 12 (Hubble Legacy Archive Processing)
You think you know someone and then you look at them in infrared and then wonder what else they aren’t showing you. Seriously, I have seen this picture of the same object at least a dozen times in the past so I didn’t expect anything out of the ordinary when I looked at the data in the archive. But there are a whole bunch of infrared observations where these weird, geometric arcs or ovals show up! Fascinating. Note they are a bit blurry as data from NICMOS tends to be. Sometimes I wonder if all the processing I do to its data is right or not but there really are some interesting things there even though it’s so messy.
Upon further inspection of the nebula I get a good sense of its dimensionality and to me it appears that we are looking down at an hourglass from a 45° angle or so. I think this is why processing is so addictive. I stare at things for a long time and come away with a much better understanding than I previously had and maybe even some extra information that wasn’t in a press release at some point.
Oh, I got rid of the large, distracting diffraction spikes as best I could while doing the least harm to the object that I could manage.
Red: HST_11331_03_NIC_NIC3_F160W_sci + hst_11093_01_wfpc2_f675w_pc_sci + hst_11093_01_wfpc2_f658n_pc_sci
Green: hst_11093_01_wfpc2_f656n_pc_sci + hst_11093_01_wfpc2_f555w_pc_sci
Blue: hst_11093_01_wfpc2_f502n_pc_sci + hst_06353_08_wfpc2_f487n_pc_sci
North is up.
JaFu 1 (Hubble Legacy Archive Processing)
This nebula is named after Jacoby and Fulton who, along with others, were rewarded with the discovery of this tiny planetary nebula buried in the haze of stars known as the loose globular cluster Palomar 6. Finding the few existing planetary nebulas in globular clusters is something like the astronomer’s ultimate game of Where’s Waldo. Congratulations, guys. Anyway, this curious blob (or perhaps the name itself: “What’s a JaFu??”) managed to catch my attention in the archive so I went ahead and processed it.
Obviously, wideband filters barely reveal the little feller at all. The nebula is mainly visible in the F656N (H-alpha) & F502N (OIII) data. I toned the wideband data down quite a bit to tame the various bright stars.
Red: hst_11308_01_wfpc2_f814w_wf_sci + hst_11308_01_wfpc2_f656n_wf_sci
Blue: ACS/WFC F502N (jb1w02010_drz)
North is up.
M1-42 (Hubble Legacy Archive Processing)
A smaller but pretty cool nebula. Looks a lot like a goat’s eye to me. I was a little surprised to find this. It’s definitely a hidden treasure.
All channels, stars only (white): hst_11185_10_wfpc2_f588n_pc_sci
North is NOT up. It is 27° counter-clockwise from up.
NGC 2818 (Hubble Legacy Archive Processing)
Pretty and detailed planetary nebula NGC 2818. I can’t find the central star. I think it might be behind that one bright dust pillar which is crossing the center. That dust is probably extending out from the core and being blown straight toward our line of sight. Just like any nebula, it’s difficult to say anything about the three dimensional structure of the nebula. There’s no way to measure the distances of individual parts of the clouds so we have to rely on visual clues to make a best guess.
For more information:
An APOD: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap090122.html
Red: hst_11956_06_wfpc2_f673n_wf_sci + hst_11956_06_wfpc2_f658n_wf_sci
North is NOT up. It’s 15° counter-clockwise from up.
This is a dwarf galaxy known as MCG09-20-131. Interestingly, it’s very close to us, so we can see some individual stars within it. Dwarf galaxies don’t get nearly as much attention as bigger, brighter galaxies. You might even mistake this for a local cluster of stars within our own Milky Way but at 6.5 million light years away it’s definitely not part of our galaxy. The red blob is a nebula glowing in H-alpha surrounding some bright, blue, young stars. Information obtained from the proposal for this object, here. There is some much more specific information contained in the abstract if you wish to know more.
Red: HST_10843_a1_ACS_WFC_F658N_sci + HST_10843_01_ACS_HRC_F814W_sci
North is NOT up. It is 28° counter-clockwise from up.
IRAS 19024+0044 (Hubble Legacy Archive Processing)
Something like the Water Lily but smaller. It seems that it is not uncommon that these preplanetary nebulas look like a work in progress drawing of a flower.
North is up.