'We're Trying to Portray the Universe as a Real Place With Real Landscapes'

By Rebecca J. Rosen

"It's a beautiful universe out there," says Zolt Levay -- and he would know. As an "image processor" for the data that comes from the Hubble Space Telescope, Levay is the man behind many of our most jaw-dropping pictures of space.

If you've ever wondered just how we get those famous Hubble shots, the video above from PBS's Off Book series will you give a good answer. Levay and some other astronomers walk the viewer through what we're seeing in these pictures, how they are made, and what they might mean.

"It's like looking at conceptual art -- where there is some meaning behind it, some story behind it," says Levay. That story is one we are still piecing together.

For more from PBS Off Book, visit the YouTube channel.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/05/were-trying-to-portray-the-universe-as-a-real-place-with-real-landscapes/276300/