[Video] How NASA manipulates Hubble's pictures to cheat the world

The Hubble Space Telescope is noted for providing beautiful and often bizarre color pictures of galaxies, planets, and nebulae. Do the pictures really reflect the colors these objects would have if we visited them in a spacecraft? Why do some of the pictures have an unusual stair-step shape?

The answers to these questions require a peek behind the scenes — a look at how Hubble actually makes images.

Hubble images are made, not born. Images must be woven together from the incoming data from the cameras, cleaned up and given colors that bring out features that eyes would otherwise miss. In this video from HubbleSite.org, online home of the Hubble Space Telescope, a Hubble-imaged galaxy comes together on the screen at super-fast speed.

Learn more about how Hubble images are made by visiting Behind the Pictures.