Cosmic Smudge (2015)

This asymmetrical congregation of stars is nearby dwarf galaxy NGC 4789A, seen at a distance of about 4 Mpc or around 14 million light years. The colors here are greatly emphasized and so the galaxy appears quite blue. There does appear to be some star formation going on, so the coloration is not totally misleading. However, some bluish, nebular patches would be much better represented by red, signifying the emission of H-alpha from those clouds. There is no H-alpha data available for me to make that change to the image, unfortunately, so the current processing will have to do.

For this picture I also used a new technique to try to increase the color variation since it is only a bicolor image. Bicolor images are usually presented in orange and cyan, which can otherwise be described as a red and blue channel with the green generated by averaging the red and blue together. I have done just that with this image, but additionally I adjusted the purest cyan and purest orange parts to be more blue and more red, respectively. I think it worked very well, especially for those background galaxies.

The chip gap has been filled with cloned data. It is located horizontally at around the bottom 5th of the image. Several background galaxies intersected it and for three of them interpolated their missing parts by copying and rotating them 180° to complete their missing halves.

My friend’s cat died recently so I named this image after her cat whose name was Smudge. If you would like to see Smudge, a video of her being adorable is available here.

This image is possible thanks to the following HST proposal:
The Dynamic State of the Dwarf Galaxy Rich Canes Venatici I Region

Red: HST_10905_15_ACS_WFC_F814W_sci
Green: Pseudo
Blue: HST_10905_15_ACS_WFC_F606W_sci

North is NOT up. It is 55.4° counter-clockwise from up.

Copyright information:
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

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.