Stunning mosaic delves deep into spiral galaxy (picture)

Hubble Legacy Archive data from various Hubble instruments and ground-based astrophotography are mashed up in a stunning view.

Click the image to see a huge version of the multiview composite of spiral galaxy M106. Press ESC to close. NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), and R. Gendler (for the Hubble Heritage Team)
As part of an experiment in stunning mosaics and data visualization, astrophotographer Robert Gendler used scientific data from the Hubble Legacy Archive and combined it with his own ground-based observations to assemble a photo illustration of the magnificent spiral galaxy M106.

Years of observations in WFC3 (which offers a unique combination of high sensitivity and wide spectral coverage), Hubble's primary camera, the Advanced Camera for Surveys (which offers three independent, high-resolution channels covering the ultraviolet to the near-infrared regions of the spectrum), and the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 have given scientists varied views and detailed pieces of M106 that are now being combined to offer a richer view of the spiral galaxy.

Using these extensive data archives of Hubble images of M106, a mosaic was created of the center of the galaxy. Working with astronomical image processors at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Gendler then combined his own and fellow astrophotographer Jay GaBany's ground-based red-green-blue image observations to enrich the image detail where Hubble data was insufficient.

Using the resources from the scientific operations center for space-based astronomical observations at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which also houses operations for the James Webb Space Telescope, the Multi-mission Archive at Space Telescope (MAST), and the Data Management Center for the Kepler mission, Gendler was able to put together a data mashup, multiframe view of M106 that is simply stunning to view.

The Hubble Legacy Archive is designed to optimize data from the Hubble Space Telescope by providing online, enhanced Hubble products, and advanced browsing capabilities to the vast library of the cosmos. The HLA is a joint project of the Space Telescope Science Institute, the Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility, and the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre.

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About the author

James Martin is the staff photographer at CNET News, covering the geeks and gadgets of Silicon Valley. When he's not live-blogging the latest product launches from Apple, Google, or Facebook, James can be found exploring NASA, probing robotics labs, and getting behind-the-scenes with some of the Bay Area's most innovative thinkers.

 

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