The Hubble Palette

hubblebutterfly_1_smThe Hubble Space Telescope is now operational after it’s recent–and last–servicing mission. With its new and improved instruments, the HST is better than ever. On September 9, 2009, Nasa showed off the first batch of images taken with its new camera. The images are nothing less than spectacular! While the equipment may be new, the Hubble team continues the tradition of using their own unique palette to artifically render the various colors of the images which are taken with narrowband filters. Narrowband filters enable astrophotographers to filter out all but select wavelengths of light which are associated with various elements. Doubly ionized oxygen, for example, is at 502nm on the light spectrum and has a bluish color. By using an OIII or 502nm filter, the unique color of this super-heated gas can be imaged.

I thought it would be interesting to see what the image of the Butterfly Nebula would look like if I assigned natural colors to the image. So, I downloaded the image files from the Space Telescope Science Institute and went to work. Click here to see the results.