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Hubble's Heritage

Week of October 26, 1998
Regular Snackers know that I am a tireless promoter of Hubble Space Telescope (HST) images. My task is being eased somewhat by the Space Telescope Science Institute itself. The 'tute (as those in the know call it) has started a new project to promote lesser known images from HST. The images you see in press releases and around the web are really only a small fraction of the images taken by HST. They are usually noteworthy images for science, or because of unusual beauty. Still, there are lots of images out there that are not getting any press.

Thus was the Hubble Heritage Project born. Many older images are quite stunning, and the Heritage folk go through the data archives and find them. Hubble data is held back for a year to give scientists time to work on them, but after that they are free game. The images you will find at the Heritage homepage are therefore over a year old, but don't let this hold you back. The four initial images they display are gorgeous examples of astronomical imaging, and as an added bonus the project is trying to keep the colors as close to reality as they can. I specifically recommend the image of a field of stars in Sagittarius, near the center of the Galaxy. I have images like this that I have worked with, and for sheer amazement there's nothing quite like a bejeweled field of multihued stars.

©2008 Phil Plait. All Rights Reserved.

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