Color as a Tool

Galaxy ESO 510-G13

Natural Color

The colors in this image of a galaxy were chosen to simulate the colors that our eyes might see if we were able to visit it in a spacecraft.


Representative Color

Representative color helps scientists visualize what would otherwise be invisible, such as the appearance of an object in infrared light.

Cat's Eye Nebula

Enhanced Color

Enhancing the visible colors in an image often brings out an object's subtle structural detail.

Color in Hubble images is used to highlight interesting features of the celestial object being studied. It is added to the separate black-and-white exposures that are combined to make the final image.

Creating color images out of the original black-and-white exposures is equal parts art and science.

We use color:

To depict how an object might look to us if our eyes were as powerful as Hubble
To visualize features of an object that would ordinarily be invisible to the human eye
To bring out an object's subtle details.

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