Hubble's hidden treasures uncovered by crowd-sourced image editing

[Credit: Josh Lake/ESA]

The Hubble Space Telescope has consistently sent back images to Earth during its (very long) orbit. However, not all of the images come through particularly bright or seem very interesting at first glance, which is why many don’t get shown to the public.

The European Space Agency (ESA) saw a different side to these data-rich but “ugly” pictures. With a bit of smart editing, the ESA realized that many of the images available could be transformed to show off some of the unseen beauty within space—or as the ESA puts it, space's "hidden treasures." As The Verge spotted, the agency let the public have access to the images and submit their edits; in return, the agency received more than 3000 stunning images.

The winning image, though, is Josh Lake’s edit of the NCG 1763 star-forming region. Josh highlighted the difference between hydrogen and nitrogen using a deep red and bright blue to create a contrasting effect.

Of course, hydrogen and nitrogen gases aren’t really these colors; they would normally appear as two very similar shades of red that human eyes can't readily differentiate. But by modifying the colors, Josh was able to better show the colliding gases.

[Credit: ESA]

Other impressive images include Andre van der Hoeven’s tweaked shot of the Messier 77 spiral galaxy, Renaud Houdinet’s imperfect but impressive mosaic of the Chamaeleon nebula, and Claude Cormen's intriguing edit of SNR 0519-69.

You can check out all of the best images on ESA’s Hubble Space Telescope site and Flickr page.

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