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False Colour Images

False colour images of a galaxy

Most astronomical images are black-and-white. However, they have very detailed and accurate information about how bright stars and other objects are.

Often, there is far more detail than the human eye can see. To explore all this detail, astronomers use image processing software to display the image in lots of different ways.

One of the most useful things that you can do, is to change the colours of the picture on the computer screen from black, grey and white to lots of other colours. This is called using false colour schemes.

Some examples are seen on the left. Although the image itself has not changed, by using different colours to display it, the software can let us see more detail.

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 differently.