Little Big Universe: Tilt-Shifted Astro Images Make Space Look Tiny

Hubble image of the Horsehead Nebula, "tilt-shifted" by Imgur user ScienceLlama (Original image credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA))

Aww, how cute! What an adorable little… nebula?

Although here it may look like it could fit in your hand, the Horsehead Nebula is obviously quite a bit larger – about 1.5 light-years across from “nose” to “mane.” But given a tilt-shift effect by user ScienceLlama, the entire structure takes on the appearance of something tiny — based purely on our eyes’ natural depth-of-field when peering at a small object close up. Usually done with Photoshop filters these days, it’s a gimmick, yes… but it works!

The original image was captured in infrared light by the Hubble Space Telescope and released in April 2013, in celebration of its 23rd anniversary.

Check out more of ScienceLlama’s “tiny universe” images below:

A tiny Centaurus A
A tiny Centaurus A
A tiny Crab Nebula (see original Spitzer image here)
A tiny Crab Nebula (see original NASA image here)
A tiny Andromeda Galaxy (see original here)
A tiny Andromeda Galaxy in hydrogen alpha (see original here)

See these and more on ScienceLlama’s Imgur page here, and follow Science Llama on Twitter here.

(H/T to Google+ user Brian Koberlein and fellow Space Community member Warren Isaac. Featured on

ADDITION 12/17: Several of these images (like this one) were originally processed by Robert Gendler from Hubble-acquired data, but the attribution was not noted by ScienceLlama. I apologize for the oversight — see more of Robert’s beautiful astrophotography on his website here. Another original source was Adam Block of the Mount Lemmon Sky Center.