Gallery of 'actual images' from space?

Gallery of 'actual images' from space?

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Where can a gallery of actual unaltered photographic images taken in (or of) space be found? Specifically ones that are untouched, not colorized (not necessarily black and white, but they usually are), and taken by natural light photography? Pictures and videos claiming "actual image" are few and far between.

E.g., this:

Not false color:

Both of these pictures are from NASA's (Voyager) Saturn Images gallery. Some of the other ones there are listed as false color, some aren't (but obviously they are). Or maybe not so obviously, hence the question: what does it really look like out there?

I've a pretty good idea of what Saturn looks like IRL, because I've seen it in a telescope (exactly like the first picture, except it's more colorful - absolutely nothing like the second). For most other celestial objects, I have no such baseline.

The title of the website I'm looking for would be along the lines of: View of our solar system through the eyes of a human. Decidedly, not containing any pictures from the HST, as all of them are photoshopped.

I guess, this is among the best you can find: Hubble Heritage.

These are visible picture, real, and not modified, taken from space, and super-amazing.

If you meant pictures in wavelengths other than visible, please just ask.

You may find unaltered images difficult to obtain. Firstly, most images are made from a combination of many short exposures, leading to the colours being 'built up'. Secondly, all but the newest astrophotographers tend to use imaging devices which are more sensitive to the IR part of the spectrum. Further to this, many will use filters to accentuate H - alpha regions, further obscuring 'true' colour.

The reason that these techniques are used is to aid you, the viewer. Unedited images are often grey, faint and show little detail.

You can use one of the digital sky surveys. Examples include:

  • Sloan digital sky survey SDSS
  • ESO online digitized sky survey

Their images contain visible (red or blue) wavelengths as well as infrared. All images are monochromatic, as are almost all professional astronomy photographs. You could build your own composite color image from the different channels.

Here is an example image from the ESO DSS2 archive in red wavelength:

Many are now viewing the sky with electronic eyepieces. The images they post on the net range from unprocessed "what the camera sees is what you get", on the fly mildly processed as the image is made and images made with the full blown astro photography sort of post processing.

I use the Mallincams. The Mallincam iO group has a photo section containing thousands of images made with those cameras.

The group members can direct you to the photos you are interested in.

Many broadcast their viewing sessions on the Live Skies website

There are no schedules. Most broadcasts originate in North America. Check the site occasionally during the evenings. You will eventually find a broadcast.

NASA Space Photos SLIDESHOW: Amazing Look At Sun, Stars, Planets

From May’s “supermoon” to June’s transit of Venus, 2012 has offered astronomy buffs a bumper crop of celestial events--but you don't have to wait for something special to happen in the sky to experience mind-blowing space photography.

Since its 1958 founding, NASA has amassed a vast trove of spectacular images, and most are now online. NASA has so many space photos--more than 700,000 of Earth alone--the real challenge is separating the really special shots from the also-rans.

To that end, we’ve assembled 55 images that we think represent the best of the best. Sit back, fire up your mouse or trackpad, have a look at the photos below, and rank your favorite shots. Did we miss something? If so, please add other images you think should be in our collection--or send us a tweet @HuffPostScience.

Some of the Best Pictures of the Planets in our Solar System

Our Solar System is a pretty picturesque place. Between the Sun, the Moon, and the Inner and Outer Solar System, there is no shortage of wondrous things to behold. But arguably, it is the eight planets that make up our Solar System that are the most interesting and photogenic. With their spherical discs, surface patterns and curious geological formations, Earth’s neighbors have been a subject of immense fascination for astronomers and scientists for millennia.

And in the age of modern astronomy, which goes beyond terrestrial telescopes to space telescopes, orbiters and satellites, there is no shortage of pictures of the planets. But here are a few of the better ones, taken with high-resolutions cameras on board spacecraft that managed to capture their intricate, picturesque, and rugged beauty.

Mercury, as imaged by the MESSENGER spacecraft, revealing parts never before seen by human eyes. Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Named after the winged messenger of the gods, Mercury is the closest planet to our Sun. It’s also the smallest (now that Pluto is no longer considered a planet. At 4,879 km, it is actually smaller than the Jovian moon of Ganymede and Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.

Because of its slow rotation and tenuous atmosphere, the planet experiences extreme variations in temperature – ranging from -184 °C on the dark side and 465 °C on the side facing the Sun. Because of this, its surface is barren and sun-scorched, as seen in the image above provided by the MESSENGER spacecraft.

A radar view of Venus taken by the Magellan spacecraft, with some gaps filled in by the Pioneer Venus orbiter. Credit: NASA/JPL

Venus is the second planet from our Sun, and Earth’s closest neighboring planet. It also has the dubious honor of being the hottest planet in the Solar System. While farther away from the Sun than Mercury, it has a thick atmosphere made up primarily of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen gas. This causes the Sun’s heat to become trapped, pushing average temperatures up to as high as 460°C. Due to the presence of sulfuric and carbonic compounds in the atmosphere, the planet’s atmosphere also produces rainstorms of sulfuric acid.

Because of its thick atmosphere, scientists were unable to examine of the surface of the planet until 1970s and the development of radar imaging. Since that time, numerous ground-based and orbital imaging surveys have produced information on the surface, particularly by the Magellan spacecraft (1990-94). The pictures sent back by Magellan revealed a harsh landscape dominated by lava flows and volcanoes, further adding to Venus’ inhospitable reputation.

Earth is the third planet from the Sun, the densest planet in our Solar System, and the fifth largest planet. Not only is 70% of the Earth’s surface covered with water, but the planet is also in the perfect spot – in the center of the hypothetical habitable zone – to support life. It’s atmosphere is primarily composed of nitrogen and oxygen and its average surface temperatures is 7.2°C. Hence why we call it home.

Being that it is our home, observing the planet as a whole was impossible prior to the space age. However, images taken by numerous satellites and spacecraft – such as the Apollo 11 mission, shown above – have been some of the most breathtaking and iconic in history.

The first true-colour image of Mars taken by the ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft on 24 February 2007. Credit: MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/ IAA/ RSSD/ INTA/ UPM/ DASP/ IDA

Mars is the fourth planet from our Sun and Earth’s second closest neighbor. Roughly half the size of Earth, Mars is much colder than Earth, but experiences quite a bit of variability, with temperatures ranging from 20 °C at the equator during midday, to as low as -153 °C at the poles. This is due in part to Mars’ distance from the Sun, but also to its thin atmosphere which is not able to retain heat.

Mars is famous for its red color and the speculation it has sparked about life on other planets. This red color is caused by iron oxide – rust – which is plentiful on the planet’s surface. It’s surface features, which include long “canals”, have fueled speculation that the planet was home to a civilization.

Observations made by satellites flybys in the 1960’s (by the Mariner 3 and 4 spacecraft) dispelled this notion, but scientists still believe that warm, flowing water once existed on the surface, as well as organic molecules. Since that time, a small army of spacecraft and rovers have taken the Martian surface, and have produced some of the most detailed and beautiful photos of the planet to date.

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and Ganymede’s Shadow. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center)

Jupiter, the closest gas giant to our Sun, is also the largest planet in the Solar System. Measuring over 70,000 km in radius, it is 317 times more massive than Earth and 2.5 times more massive than all the other planets in our Solar System combined. It also has the most moons of any planet in the Solar System, with 67 confirmed satellites as of 2012.

Despite its size, Jupiter is not very dense. The planet is comprised almost entirely of gas, with what astronomers believe is a core of metallic hydrogen. Yet, the sheer amount of pressure, radiation, gravitational pull and storm activity of this planet make it the undisputed titan of our Solar System.

Jupiter has been imaged by ground-based telescopes, space telescopes, and orbiter spacecraft. The best ground-based picture was taken in 2008 by the ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VTL) using its Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics Demonstrator (MAD) instrument. However, the greatest images captured of the Jovian giant were taken during flybys, in this case by the Galileo and Cassini missions.

Saturn and its rings, as seen from above the planet by the Cassini spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute/Gordan Ugarkovic

Saturn, the second gas giant closest to our Sun, is best known for its ring system – which is composed of rocks, dust, and other materials. All gas giants have their own system of rings, but Saturn’s system is the most visible and photogenic. The planet is also the second largest in our Solar System, and is second only to Jupiter in terms of moons (62 confirmed).

Much like Jupiter, numerous pictures have been taken of the planet by a combination of ground-based telescopes, space telescopes and orbital spacecraft. These include the Pioneer, Voyager, and most recently, Cassini spacecraft.

Uranus, seen by Voyager 2 spacecraft. Image credit: NASA/JPL

Another gas giant, Uranus is the seventh planet from our Sun and the third largest planet in our Solar System. The planet contains roughly 14.5 times the mass of the Earth, but it has a low density. Scientists believe it is composed of a rocky core that is surrounded by an icy mantle made up of water, ammonia and methane ice, which is itself surrounded by an outer gaseous atmosphere of hydrogen and helium.

It is for this reason that Uranus is often referred to as an “ice planet”. The concentrations of methane are also what gives Uranus its blue color. Though telescopes have captured images of the planet, only one spacecraft has even taken pictures of Uranus over the years. This was the Voyager 2 craft which performed a flyby of the planet in 1986.

Neptune from Voyager 2. Image credit: NASA/JPL

Neptune is the eight planet of our Solar System, and the farthest from the Sun. Like Uranus, it is both a gas giant and ice giant, composed of a solid core surrounded by methane and ammonia ices, surrounded by large amounts of methane gas. Once again, this methane is what gives the planet its blue color. It is also the smallest gas giant in the outer Solar System, and the fourth largest planet.

All of the gas giants have intense storms, but Neptune has the fastest winds of any planet in our Solar System. The winds on Neptune can reach up to 2,100 kilometers per hour, and the strongest of which are believed to be the Great Dark Spot, which was seen in 1989, or the Small Dark Spot (also seen in 1989). In both cases, these storms and the planet itself were observed by the Voyager 2 spacecraft, the only one to capture images of the planet.

Universe Today has many interesting articles on the subject of the planets, such as interesting facts about the planets and interesting facts about the Solar System.

A Martian immersion

NASA's Perseverance rover captured a panorama of the Octavia E. Butler Landing site on Mars, providing us earthlings with an immersive, 360-degree view of its new Martian home as of Feb. 18. The sweeping vista of the 28-mile-wide Jezero Crater formed by a meteorite impact lets us imagine what it's like to be right there along for the mission. Within Jezero Crater is evidence of an ancient river delta where water once ran on the surface of Mars, and Perseverance will be collecting data in the area as well as preparing samples of soil to be picked up and returned to Earth in a future mission.

Bruce McCandless Hanging Out in Space

Living and working in space always provides rewards. and dangers.

During one of the most daring spacewalks ever performed, astronaut Bruce McCandless left the space shuttle using a Manned Maneuvering Unit. For a few hours, he was completely separated from our planet ​and the shuttle, and he spent his time admiring the beauty of our home world.

Top NASA Photos of All Time

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which began its operations on October 1, 1958, we offer this list of the 50 most memorable images from NASA’s history ( see all 50 in the photo gallery below ). We recognize that any such ranking is inherently subjective. The rationale for why any one image ranked two slots higher than any other combines several factors, including our attempt to balance the list between human spaceflight, satellite imaging, and planetary exploration. Many wonderful images did not make the final cut—we couldn’t convince the editors to give us 20 pages instead of 10.

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The list omits significant events from space history that were not NASA achievements, such as the famous 1958 photograph of Wernher von Braun and the other architects of the Explorer 1 satellite celebrating their success by holding a model of the satellite over their heads, an event that occurred months before NASA existed. Photos from the Apollo moon program predominate, as well they should—it remains the agency’s crowning achievement. We also recognize that, even though the first “A” in NASA stands for “aeronautics,” our list is light on aeronautical breakthroughs. Our only excuse is that the ranking reflects the affinity of the division of space history staff for space topics.

Topping the list is the view of the whole Earth above, arguably the most influential image to come out of the American space program.  Used significantly by the environmental movement (although NOT, as often reported, the inspiration for Earth Day). This particular shot was from Apollo 17, but all of the moon-bound astronauts took similar photos. Although a satellite had returned a picture of the whole Earth in 1967, it wasn’t until humans saw this view for the first time a year later that it entered our collective mind.

We welcome the discussion we know this list will spark. Debating which images should or shouldn’t have been ranked, and how high, would be an appropriate way to mark the past half century of NASA’s accomplishments.

How To : NASA's Secret to Colorful Space Photos from Hubble (Plus How to Create Your Own)

We've all seen the breathtaking, colorful photos of the Eagle, Egg and Cat's Eye Nebulae. You may not recognize them by name, but you've seen them, whether in astronomy textbooks, magazines, websites, album covers, or tee shirts. They are some of the most striking photographs ever taken from the Hubble Space Telescope (HST).

But are the colorful images true to the human eye?

Above: The "Pillars of Creation" from the Eagle Nebula.

If you were to look through an amateur telescope with your own two eyes, you wouldn't see the colorful representation that NASA provides, but mostly grays. That's because the light and color emitted by nebulae and stars are so feeble that the color-sensitive cone cells in our eyes let the rod receptors do most, if not all of the dirty work—in black and white.

But all of the photos taken with Hubble are in black and white, too. So, what gives?

Above: The spiral galaxy NGC 3982 (before and after).

The finished space images are actually combinations of two or more black-and-white exposures to which color has been added during image processing. Most images are made up of three separate exposures taken with filters and then assigned red, green, and blue, which are the three primary colors that can simulate the full spectrum of light visible to human eyes. Ever hear of RGB?

All exposures taken by the HST are stored at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). Those images can be requested by anyone with a HST archive account, so if you want to try this out at home, you can get more information on the archives here. If you don't want to go through all of that, you can click here to get some educational example datasets.

In the past, creating the colorful images was fairly complicated, requiring expensive programs such as IRAF or IDL to analyze the data in FITS images, a common astronomy format. But now you can use Adobe Photoshop with the FITS Liberator 3 software plugin to get the job done. You can download the FITS Liberator here, for both Mac and Windows.

Once you have the FITS Liberator installed in Photoshop, it's time to use the FITS tool to ready the black-and-white images. Then, you start adjusting and adding colored layers in Photoshop. There's a super-detailed article on HubbleSOURCE for creating your own color Hubble images. I suggest you go there if you want to try it. To see it in action, check out the following video, which demonstrates the process on the spiral galaxy NGC 3982, pictured above.

If you want to know more about how Hubble's images are processed, so you can better do it on your own, check out Sky & Telescope's article Creating Hubble's Technicolor Universe, which describes the process pre-FITS Liberator. Also, see A Short Introduction to Astronomical Image Processing by ESA and this brief article by Bob Franke.

For an impressive look at the combination of three space telescope images, check out the video below of the Antennae galaxies, an intense star-forming region created when two galaxies began to collide some 200 million to 300 million years ago.

This is the image from the Hubble Space Telescope:

To learn more about how the Hubble images are made, and why the Eagle Nebula image at the top of this article is stair-shaped, visit HubbleSite's Behind the Pictures.

The Hubble Space Telescope was built by NASA with help from the European Space Agency (ESA), and is operated by the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). It's been taking amazing photographs of spacescapes ever since the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) was installed during the first service mission completed in 1994. The recent (and final) service mission replaced it with the Wide Field Camera 3.

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The name is based on a phrase used by Charles Spurgeon in his sermon "The Condescension of Christ": [6]

In calling the Hubble's spectacular new image of the Eagle Nebula the Pillars of Creation, NASA scientists were tapping a rich symbolic tradition with centuries of meaning, bringing it into the modern age. As much as we associate pillars with the classical temples of Greece and Rome, the concept of the pillars of creation – the very foundations that hold up the world and all that is in it – reverberates significantly in the Christian tradition. When William Jennings Bryan published The World's Famous Orations in 1906, he included an 1857 sermon by London pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon titled "The Condescension of Christ". In it, Spurgeon uses the phrase to convey not only the physical world but also the force that keeps it all together, emanating from the divine: "And now wonder, ye angels," Spurgeon says of the birth of Christ, "the Infinite has become an infant he, upon whose shoulders the universe doth hang, hangs at his mother's breast He who created all things, and bears up the pillars of creation, hath now become so weak, that He must be carried by a woman!"

The pillars are composed of cool molecular hydrogen and dust that are being eroded by photoevaporation from the ultraviolet light of relatively close and hot stars. The leftmost pillar is about four light years in length. [7] The finger-like protrusions at the top of the clouds are larger than our solar system, and are made visible by the shadows of evaporating gaseous globules (EGGs), which shield the gas behind them from intense UV flux. [8] EGGs are themselves incubators of new stars. [9] The stars then emerge from the EGGs, which then are evaporated.

Images taken with the Spitzer Space Telescope uncovered a cloud of hot dust in the vicinity of the Pillars of Creation that Nicolas Flagey accounted to be a shock wave produced by a supernova. [10] The appearance of the cloud suggests the supernova shockwave would have destroyed the Pillars of Creation 6,000 years ago. Given the distance of roughly 7,000 light-years to the Pillars of Creation, this would mean that they have actually already been destroyed, but because light travels at a finite speed, this destruction should be visible from Earth in about 1,000 years. [11] However, this interpretation of the hot dust has been disputed by an astronomer uninvolved in the Spitzer observations, who argues that a supernova should have resulted in stronger radio and x-ray radiation than has been observed, and that winds from massive stars could instead have heated the dust. If this is the case, the Pillars of Creation will undergo a more gradual erosion. [12]

Original Hubble Space Telescope photo Edit

Hubble's photo of the pillars is composed of 32 different images [13] from four separate cameras [14] in the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 on board Hubble. [15] The photograph was made with light emitted by different elements in the cloud and appears as a different color in the composite image: green for hydrogen, red for singly ionized sulfur and blue for double-ionized oxygen atoms. [2]

The "stair-shaped" [14] missing part of the picture at the top right corner originates from the fact that the camera for the top-right quadrant has a magnified view when its images are scaled down to match the other three cameras, there is necessarily a gap in the rest of that quadrant. [14] This effect is also present on other four-camera Hubble pictures, and can be displayed at any corner depending on how the image has been re-oriented for publication. [16]

The Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 was replaced by the Wide Field Camera 3, and the former was taken back to Earth where it is displayed in a museum. It was replaced in 2009 as part of a Space Shuttle mission (STS-125).

Herschel's photo Edit

In 2010 Herschel Space Observatory captured a new image of Pillars of Creation in far-infrared wavelengths, which allows astronomers to look inside the pillars and structures in the region, and come to a much fuller understanding of the creative and destructive forces inside the Eagle Nebula. [17]

Hubble revisit Edit

In celebration of the 25th anniversary since the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers assembled a larger and higher-resolution photograph of the Pillars of Creation which was unveiled in January 2015 at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle. The image was photographed by the Hubble Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3, installed in 2009, in visible light. An infrared image was also taken. [18] The re-imaging has a wider view that shows more of the base of the nebulous columns. [5]


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Download the Entire Archive of Nasa's Astronomy Picture of the Day with One Command

Nasa's Astronomy Picture of the Day archive is a packed with awe-inspiring, high-resolution images of space that, incidentally, work great as desktop wallpapers. But NASA doesn't offer an easy way to grab everything. Command-line tool wget to the rescue!

Update: This post is primarliy meant as a good example of how you can use wget to save time, but if all you want is the images, here's a working torrent , courtesy of reader Jacob Hathaway. (Thanks Jake! A lot of readers had trouble with my original torrent. Apologies for that.) Enjoy!

A little backstory: My wife is a graphic designer working on a project related to the Griffith Park Observatory here in Los Angeles. She was looking for high-res images of space, and I knew Nasa's APOD archive was full of great images—but grabbing them all isn't easy, and clicking through the archive is tedious. So I turned to wget, a cross-platform command line tool.

Windows users, you can grab wget from here Mac users, here's a good one for you. (Follow the installation instructions in the download.) Linux users should have it installed by default. Assuming you've got wget installed, open your command line, then cd to a folder you want to store them in (I've got mine in a folder on my capacious Media drive called wgot . The command for downloading the archives is simple:

This command will crawl the archive page, follow any links, and eventually start downloading only the JPG files in the domain. The -w2 option adds a two-second wait between each ping—something I didn't include when I did it, but. I also don't want us to absolutely kill their servers, so hopefully that will help.

Everything downloaded takes up about 2.64GB on my drive, and you'll end up with a few low-quality dupes of the higher quality stuff, but you can easily sort by size and get rid of some of the lower resolution stuff. We published a wget primer some five years ago, so if this use case gets you interested in what else wget is capable of, give the old post a read . Also: I'm a wget dabbler, so if you've got any improvements, let's hear them in the comments.

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