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Thread: What do they really look like?

  1. #1 What do they really look like? 
    Forum Freshman Development's Avatar
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    Most of the pictures of galaxies etc that I've seen say they've been taken with an infared telescope, or something like that. I was wondering what they REALLY look like to the human eye? Like the crab nebula: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...rab_Nebula.jpg

    Would it look like that if I saw it with my own eyes?

    Thanks.


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  3. #2 Re: What do they really look like? 
    Forum Junior Lucifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Development
    Most of the pictures of galaxies etc that I've seen say they've been taken with an infared telescope, or something like that. I was wondering what they REALLY look like to the human eye? Like the crab nebula: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...rab_Nebula.jpg

    Would it look like that if I saw it with my own eyes?

    Thanks.
    Well, actually it wouldn't look like that, nor anythign you've seen in a SF flick/show.

    Most of this objects are either dim or spread across a gazillion miles of space. if you're far enough to see them wholly, they're faint and delicate. If you close up they disappear into a sort of faint, dim mist of nearly invisble light. There's nothing like a bright cloud * la Star Trek.

    Astrophotography collects eveery photon that reaches us in a given time -whereas our brain just takes 1/24th of a second to gather photons and process them into a image, and so what we see and what can be seen after banging a sensible surface with every last photon arrived for minutes, hours or even days, is very different. What astrophotograph show is not what we would see if we where looking at it with our eyes, even if we "were there"...

    Planets are another business, anyway. "Being there" would make a difference...


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  4. #3 Re: What do they really look like? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Development
    Most of the pictures of galaxies etc that I've seen say they've been taken with an infared telescope, or something like that. I was wondering what they REALLY look like to the human eye? Like the crab nebula: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...rab_Nebula.jpg

    Would it look like that if I saw it with my own eyes?

    Thanks.
    You'd need to be close. Other galaxies, from a human perspective, wouldn't look much different than when you look in the sky at night within our own galaxy. The stars and 'stuff' of new stars are light years apart.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Freshman Development's Avatar
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    Thanks. Just to be clear, what colour would the crab nebula appear to the human eye?
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  6. #5  
    Forum Junior Lucifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Development
    Thanks. Just to be clear, what colour would the crab nebula appear to the human eye?
    Well, the dominant colors are red, white and yellow. It looks pinkish on the telescope, but probably if you where close enough it would be easier to tell the different colors. Although still would be a pale ghost of color, the fine structure of the clouds would be seen clearly, specially from a dark room after adapting your eyes... it wouldn't strike you like, say, a neon light, but gently, like a rainbow does. And although being almost ethereal, it would be completely opaque to anyhting in the background behind it.
    “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” -Charles Darwin
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  7. #6  
    Forum Freshman Development's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucifer
    Quote Originally Posted by Development
    Thanks. Just to be clear, what colour would the crab nebula appear to the human eye?
    Well, the dominant colors are red, white and yellow. It looks pinkish on the telescope, but probably if you where close enough it would be easier to tell the different colors. Although still would be a pale ghost of color, the fine structure of the clouds would be seen clearly, specially from a dark room after adapting your eyes... it wouldn't strike you like, say, a neon light, but gently, like a rainbow does. And although being almost ethereal, it would be completely opaque to anyhting in the background behind it.
    Phew! I'm glad it does have colour when viewed with our eyes. Thanks Lucifer.
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