A Cosmic Panorama
Have you ever stood on the top floor of a tall building overlooking a vast city in front of you? You probably thought, “Wow, I should take a picture of this!” only to be disappointed when your camera can’t fit the scene into the image. Now, imagine your camera’s field of view is about the size of a grain of sand—at arms length. Hubble’s cameras have a field of view roughly equivalent to half of that. To get around that you might use the panorama feature on your smartphone’s camera app to stitch together several photos into one. Behind the scenes, Hubble’s cameras are often used the same way, taking many images that are made into a mosaic to capture wide views of the cosmos. In fact, many of the most famous Hubble images are mosaics! Below, you can see the four pointings that were stitched into the final mosaic images of the Lagoon Nebula.
PanSTARRS image of the Lagoon Nebula with the WFC3/UVIS and WFC3/IR image footprints overlaid.
Pieces of a Puzzle
With how easily our phones’ computers can stitch up these images, we often take the nuances of the stitching process for granted. The curious ...