MAR 05, 2018 07:21 PM PST

Why Most Pictures of Objects from Space Are Merely "Artist Renditions"

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard
3 3 330


Outer space is a playground for scientific exploration, but it can be hard to visualize the data we capture. In most cases, images found in scholarly space articles like those from NASA are merely artist's renditions rather than pictures of the actual thing, and there's a good reason for it.

Space observation equipment can gather data, but it's not very good at zooming in far enough to snap a crystal-clear color photograph of an exoplanet. Most of the time, exoplanets look like small 'blips' or drops in starlight as they transit the host star, but chemical analyses can help scientists discern what type of exoplanet it is, be it gassy or terrestrial.

Artist renditions exist merely as a visual representation to complement public statements. Pictures are worth a thousand words, and they can help the public better understand a concept residing several light years away.

Creating these renditions is a delicate art, and artists must be careful not to be misleading in their imagery. In most cases, artists communicate closely with the scientists involved in a study to drum up the best possible visualization before publishing it.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUL 02, 2018
Videos
JUL 02, 2018
Watch SpaceX's Dragon Cargo Ship Dock with the International Space Station
Just as expected, SpaceX’s Dragon cargo spaceship docked with the International Space Station on Monday to provide crew members with fresh food, supp
JUL 04, 2018
Videos
JUL 04, 2018
Jockey Will Donate Brain for CTE Research
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a condition where the brain, after repeated traumatic impacts, is injured. Brain function slows down and cognitio
JUL 22, 2018
Videos
JUL 22, 2018
No language needed
If you don’t have language, how do you think? If you know fewer words, can you think fewer thoughts? Or perhaps less complex thoughts? That’s t
JUL 24, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
JUL 24, 2018
How Does It Taste? Want Some Salt (and Microplastics)?
Looks can be very deceiving: pristine, pure-like grains of sea salt can be the perfect trojan horse for the invasion of the omnipresent environmental villa
AUG 14, 2018
Videos
AUG 14, 2018
Meditation and the Corporate World
During a busy work day it’s hard to find the time to shut it all down and take a break, but in some companies, meditation breaks are becoming a way f
AUG 15, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
AUG 15, 2018
What's So Special About Polarized Sunglasses?
Glare could cause discomfort in the eyes, even disability. To reduce the glare, one can try to reduce overall luminance, say by putting on a pair of generi
Loading Comments...