Welcome to the Illuminated Universe

Illuminated Universe is a blog from the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) dedicated broadly to discussing visualization in astronomy but also focused on providing some background to images and videos. STScI is responsible for the science operations of the Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope. Part of our mission is to inform the public about what astronomers are learning about the universe by using Hubble and other observatories. We produce images, graphics, and videos to help tell the story of these discoveries.

With the name Illuminated Universe we hope to make the point that almost all of the information we get from the universe comes to us here on Earth through light. The light  provides not only illumination, but it informs us about what the universe is and how it works. Illumination can also mean understanding, so we turn that around and hope to shed some light on the processes and techniques we use to produce the informative visualizations.

The light from the universe is mostly invisible, not only because it is extremely faint, but it also comes in forms that our eyes cannot see. By building instruments capable of recording all forms of light, well beyond the familiar colors of the rainbow, we can translate that light into a visible form, hence the tagline “Translating Cosmic Light.”


  • Zolt Levay

    Zolt retired as Principal Science Visuals Developer in the Office of Public Outreach at the Space Telescope Science Institute. He currently pursues photography, exploring the relationship between earth-bound landscapes and the larger universe visible in the night sky.

2 thoughts on “Welcome to the Illuminated Universe

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  1. Wish you would do an article on how a galaxy’s appearance changes at different wavelengths from ultraviolet, visible, to infrared and then apply that to Hubble images at red shifts z, especially the Hubble ultra deep field. Include a galaxy’s spectrum key indicators like Ha, Hbeta, etc and how they are shifted at different z values out of the visible 4,000-8,000 angstrom wavelength range into the infrared. And how this impacts a galaxy’s appearance. Finish with how the James Webb telescope infrared view will help address what Hubble cannot see.

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