source of APOD colors

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djagnew
Asternaut
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:58 pm

source of APOD colors

Post by djagnew » Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:49 pm

I am new to astronomy and APOD is a delightful way to get hooked! One basic question -- what makes those beautiful colors in your pictures? If I looked through a powerful enough telescope, would I too see them, or are they artificially created? Maybe they are from gases throughout the cosmos? If so, next I guess I need to find out where they come from. They sure are stunning photos! Thank you for your work!

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Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
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Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: source of APOD colors

Post by Chris Peterson » Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:56 am

djagnew wrote:I am new to astronomy and APOD is a delightful way to get hooked! One basic question -- what makes those beautiful colors in your pictures? If I looked through a powerful enough telescope, would I too see them, or are they artificially created? Maybe they are from gases throughout the cosmos? If so, next I guess I need to find out where they come from. They sure are stunning photos! Thank you for your work!
The colors are not artificial. In some cases they are synthetic, meaning that the colors represent something other than actual color, such as atomic makeup. In other cases they approximate the actual colors you would see with your eyes if only they were more sensitive. Unfortunately, the laws of optics are such that no telescope can make an extended object brighter, only bigger, and these objects are almost all too dim to stimulate human color vision. So the only way we can ever see their "true" color is through these sorts of images.
Chris

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Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com