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Getting the Picture from Hubble Space Telescope:
Is that what they really look like?

by Zolt Levay, Imaging Resource Lead, Hubble Heritage Team, Space Telescope Science Institute

Crab Nebula image
Crab Nebula
Eagle Nebula image
Eagle Nebula

[click on pictures to see larger images]

The picture on the left is the Crab Nebula, which is the debris left over from a supernova explosion. The picture on the right is part of the Eagle Nebula and shows pillars of dust and gas where new stars are forming.

Do these celestial objects look like these Hubble Space Telescope pictures? That is, if you were in a space ship nearby looking out the window, is this what you'd see?

Yes and no.

To really answer this question requires a brief look at how images from the Hubble Space Telescope are made.

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