Anyone with a desktop computer running Adobe® Photoshop® or Adobe Photoshop Elements software can try their hand at crafting astronomical images as beautiful as Hubble Space Telescope's. A free software plug-in being released today for Photoshop makes the treasure of archival astronomical images and spectra from Hubble Space Telescope, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, The European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton X-Ray Observatory and many other famous telescopes accessible to home astronomy enthusiasts.
Imaging scientists at NASA, The European Space Agency and the European Southern Observatory developed the free software, called the Photoshop FITS Liberator. The term FITS stands for Flexible Image Transport System. This single file format archives nearly all images of stars, nebulae and galaxies produced by major telescopes around the world. Until now this file format has been accessible to very few people other than the scientists themselves using highly specialized image processing tools.
This is an example created using the ESA/ESO/NASA Photoshop FITS Liberator. The image of a portion of the ring galaxy AM0644-741 was made using Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys. Top: original black and white images obtained through filters isolating red, green and blue light. Middle: the separate images reassigned the primary colors red, green and blue. Bottom: the combined full color image.Image credit: NASA, ESA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
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