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Large Format Poster: Hidden Treasures of the Infrared Sky
If you would like to purchase this poster then please see the ordering process above.Also check out how awesome this poster looks on the wall.
This poster features images from my series of optical/infrared comparisons of famous nebulae.
Traditional images of emission nebulae taken in visible light primarily display the striking magenta colour from glowing Hydrogen gas, as well as large dark obscuring clouds of dust. The infrared part of the spectrum penetrates these clouds better and reveals complex details and thousands of young stars that are otherwise completely invisible. These stars shine primarily in the infrared and appear as golden red in these images. Only a minority of these are visible in traditional optical images.
To create these images I used a special infrared filter. Effectively the band observed is 700-1100nm since the silicon CCD chip is not responsive to wavelengths longer than that, and this band is called NIR (Near Infrared). One issue arising from this technique is that the NIR band does not have a colour as such, since it lies outside the visible light spectrum. To create a colour image from the NIR data I have developed a colour stacking technique which has produced promising results so far.
I use the NIR filter together with G and B filters to create a colour composite. The resulting images are assigned to the different channels as NIR->Luminance, NIR->Red, G->Green and B->Blue.
Substituting the R channel with NIR nicely brings out the contrast between the nebula itself and all the young obscured stars that shine primarily in infrared. This colour image is then overlaid with the NIR frame used as luminousity. The result is a predominantly blue nebula, but with the areas that are bright in NIR showing as distinctly golden red which highlights the features that are visible in the NIR band and at the same time produces a visually very pleasing image.
Below are links to the individual images in the series:
HD Video tour of the Carina Nebula, comparing Infrared and Optical features
Image of the Carina Nebula in Infrared
Image of the Lagoon Nebula in Infrared
Image of the Orion Nebula in Infrared