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.”