Hubble pics help create a different kind of starry night

The Hubble telescope has captured literally thousands of photos of the starry skies — each one beautiful in its own right. Now, these gorgeous photos have been pieced together in a mosaic that recreates Van Gogh's seminal The Starry Night.

We've seen many interesting interpretations of the classic painting — through dominos and interactive versions, for example — and it's probably safe to say creating The Starry Night with actual stars is a first.

The man behind the new perspective of the classic painting is familiar with looking at starry skies. Alex Parker is a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

He spoke to Discovery News about his inspiration for the Hubble/Van Gogh mashup: "The idea came up around the time of Hubble's 22nd birthday, when I thought it would be neat to assemble a collage of a bunch of Hubble images from over its history."

Fortunately, Parker experienced some downtime from his regular duties due to a cloudy sky, and it allowed him the time to download Hubble's top 100 images taken over the past 20 years. Using mosaic-making software, he created the fascinating reproduction.

When not busy at his day job studying asteroids and proto-planets of our solar system, Parker displays a strong creative streak for combining images from space, having also created animations with space data. Parker is also a photographer in his own right with plenty of his work posted on his website. His photos clearly display the intersection of his passions, with many shots of the night sky and observatories.

See? Science isn't all logic — it can be creative, too.

Alex Parker, via Discovery News, via Daily Mail

Correction: This post originally stated that Alex Parker was a PhD student, when in fact he is a postdoctoral fellow. We've corrected this information.

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