False Colour Imaging

Part of: 
False colour images of a galaxy
Credit: The Schools' Observatory

Images from telescopes lots of information about how bright stars and other objects are. Often, there is far more detail than the human eye can see. To reveal this detail, astronomers use software to display the image in lots of different ways.

Most astronomical images are black-and-white. One of the most useful things that you can do, is to change the colours of the picture. You can choose to change the colours from black, grey and white to lots of other colours schemes. This is called using false colours.

There are some examples of false colour pictures on this page. In each picture, the image itself has not been changed, just the colours displayed. This lets us see more detail in the object.

Which of the false colour schemes do you think lets you see the most detail? This may be different from other people as all our eyes work a bit differently.