"Ever wonder how Hubble's [Space Telescope] color images are made?" Actually, no, I've never really given it much thought. I always imagined that the Hubble's camera has some kind of brilliant billion-dollar sensor on it that can capture photos in ultra high-resolution. Turns out, Photoshop is also NASA's best friend.
Years ago, I learned that those spectacular photos taken in space and released by NASA were Photoshopped. My heart sank. Is nothing "pure" anymore?
Aren't camera's created to capture what the naked eye sees? (Artistic expression and photography is a whole other can of worms for another day). It appears the reality of space isn't quite what it would appear to be.
The video below shows how color images of a galaxy are composited and corrected to create one finished photo for your viewing pleasure. I won't spoil all the magic for you (the video's only 2:25 minutes long), but let's just say, those gorgeous swirls of color in the final pic? Artificial.
I'll never look at "photos" of galaxies the same ever again.