I’m really happy to have found this in the archive. The data almost doesn’t line up well for a color image. I almost posted a black and white* because this Herbig-Haro object and surrounding nebula is beautiful even without color but I am glad I persevered with the color version. Red represents infrared (IR F160W) while blue represents near infrared (F814W) and green is pseudo. The result of combining these filters for images of thick, dusty clouds is something like taking a flashlight and shining it behind your hand to see bone structures. The orange parts of this image are completely hidden from view in visible light. This is why I love infrared. A recent, similar example of peering through a cloud like this is A Horsehead of a Different Color.
One important thing to note here is that the two datasets were from two different epochs. The blue channel came from 2001 and the red channel from 2009. This is enough time for the rapid jets of the HH object to have moved significantly, so it looks striped blue and orange. If the data were closer together the jets would appear appear white or gray.
* Ok, actually I did post the “black and white” one but I colorized it. People seem to love color in astronomy photos, even if it’s just a color map. I understand this because so do I.
Red: WFC3 IR F160W
North is NOT up. It is 22.3° clockwise from up.
Hubble data is public domain, but I put a lot of work into combining it into beautiful color images. The minimal credit line should read: NASA / ESA / J. Schmidt
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.