How real are the Hubble telescope photos
Are Hubble telescope images in their original color?
The classic color mapping for Hubble is described in the explained Flase color astrophotography.
What you have is (in the Hubble palette):Line Freq True False Ha (656.3 nm) Red - Green S-II (672.4 nm) Red - Red O-III (500.7 nm) Green - Blue
An example of the true color of John Nassr at the Stardust Observatory at Coming to Life Again .... Hubble's 25th anniversary honored with a new high-resolution photo of the pillars of creation in the Eagle Nebula:
And false colors from Wikimedia Commons (the Hubble's palette)
You will find that the true color image is dominated by red - these are the Hydrogen Alpha lines and the Sulfur II lines (which appear as reds, greens, and yellows in the false color).
The colors in astrophotography are specific remapping of frequencies to other frequencies so that our eyes can perceive the subtle differences between different emissions from elements. Otherwise we have difficulty recognizing the structure that is present there and is indicated by different element densities in the nebulae.
I will point out that the H / S / O pallet listed above is not the only one. The picture in the question has a link to the Fastfacts tab that says:
The image is composed of separate exposures captured by the WFPC2 instrument on the Hubble Space Telescope. Three filters were used to scan narrow ranges of wavelengths. The color results from the assignment of different hues to each monochromatic image. In this case the assigned colors are:
In this picture, the doubly ionized nitrogen in the Eagle Nebula image is used as red sulfur rather than doubly ionized.
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