Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

Hubble Whirlpool Galaxy


The Hubble Legacy Archive (HLA) provides access to the huge library of images taken by the low earth orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. The HLA site is pretty complicated, and several times I have experimented in downloading image data. I still don’t know how to search and navigate the HLA very efficiently, but I did manage to download the three grayscale images taken through red, green, and blue filters of Messier 51, the Whirlpool Galaxy. The images are huge, measuring 7,912 x 11,152 pixels and almost a Gigabyte in size.

To bore you further with how the image you see came into being, I loaded the 3 HLA images into my Pixinsight processing program and combined them to create a single color image. The image below has been reduced in size to 1,978 x 2,788. Click on the image to view the large image and see the incredible detail possible when photographing from above the earth’s distorting atmosphere with a 2.4 meter aperture telescope.

As for my own pictures taken using my little 3-inch aperture ‘scope from my light polluted location in Quincy, Illinois, I’m working at it. If I get too frustrated and need a break, I may go back to the HLA for another deep space object.

Dave, marveling at God’s creations in the Universe.


4 Responses to “Hubble Whirlpool Galaxy”
  1. Tom says:


  2. Kyle says:

    This is a remarkable picture. I enjoyed zooming in to more distinct stars. Very cool, thanks for sharing.

  3. Larry Ayers says:

    The enlarged pic is stunning. As impressive as astronomical photos can be, I derive more satisfaction from observations of the small organisms which grow everywhere. The layers of interpretation are fewer and the equipment needed is available to all. To each his own!

  4. Dave says:

    Thanks for your comments. Small is beautiful, too.

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