Make your own pretty pictures of the stars

Credit: Sydney Girls High School, Travis Rector (University of Alaska), Ángel López-Sánchez (AAO) and the Australian Gemini Office.

Have you ever wondered how those beautiful pictures of planets, galaxies and space are created? Now you can too!

Images from telescopes are originally in black and white, so they have to be put together to create a colour image. This was once a laborious task, but is now straightforward with good image manipulation software.

Travis Rector (University of Alaska) and Chris Onken (ANU) have put together a simple tutorial so that you too can make beautiful colour images of your favourite galaxies, nebulae or planets. You can find it on the website of the Australian Gemini Office. All you need is Photoshop or Photoshop Elements or The GIMP (the latter is free). We also provide the raw images so you can get started.

The image used for the tutorial is the first image from the Australian Gemini School Astronomy Contest, which was of the “Glowing Eye” Nebula. The contest is an annual event we run to give school students the chance to observe their favourite celestial object with the 8-metre Gemini South telescope in Chile.

When you’re done, we’d love to see the results, so please post images on our Flickr Glowing Eye Tutorial page. 🙂

And stay tuned for next year’s contest!


About drsimmo

I'm an astronomer and science communicator, these are my adventures. Views posted are my own.
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