After our post about ...an Itty-bitty Universe the question was raised as to how such images are produced. For answers I turned to the publisher of "Year in the Life of the Universe", "Capturing the Stars", "Treasures of the Southern Sky" and "Lessons from the Masters", recipient of a "Hubble Prize" for contributions to astrophotography, image producer for both a UK and German national stamp, and the guy responsible for Apple's ubiquitous desktop image of NGC 3190. Meet astrophotographer Robert Gendler.
Kenn:“In what form do these various frames of data come to you?”
Robert: “The Suprime Cam Detector produces data which is not very easy to extract. As you can see the data comes in “blocks” which are further subdivided into 4 strips.”
“These have to be cropped from the block, processed and then meticulously stitched into a mosaic. This process alone can take me a week or two working several hours nightly on the computer. Once the greyscle mosaic is created the image is then colorized using a variety of methods.”
Kenn: “What software and techniques do you use to put these images together?”
Robert:“Usually there is only single band data on the Subaru archive so there often isn’t suffient data to make a tricolor image from Subaru data alone. I obtain color data either from my own inventory of image data over the years or from others or from the Digitized Sky Survey. I use conventional programs like Photoshop, Maxim DL, Registar, Noise Ninja.”
The resulting images are nothing short of awe inspiring.
NGC 1999, Emission and Reflection Nebulae in Orion
Composite Image from three Data sources
8.2 Meter Subaru Telescope (NAOJ)
Hubble Space Telescope
Color Data: Digitized Sky Survey, Robert Gendler
Image Assembly and Processing : Robert Gendler
For more of Robert's stellar work, head on over to his image gallery.