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CentaursHow does one go from science result to science-inspired art? Sometimes you just get lucky and, with a little thought, the  science result that practically paints its own picture for you.

The centaur graphic heading up this week’s blog is such a piece. It illustrates a cool new result that clears up a decades-old mystery over some of the smallest objects in the Solar System that intermingle with some of the largest.

If you’re curious how the whole science-to-art process works, then please read on…

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Neptune False Color Image of HazeI loathe “false color” images.

After all, any image that falsifies color must be wildly misleading, right? Who wants that?

Now before anyone gets riled up, let me point out that I simply adore the incredible array of astronomical imagery that represents amazing data collected from across the spectrum, and is lovingly rendered into color representations that we can all enjoy. That is all awesome stuff.

What I hate is the horrifically terrible, yet disturbingly ubiquitous term “false color.”

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View of a Rotating Black HoleThis artist’s concept illustrates a supermassive black hole with millions to billions times the mass of our sun. Supermassive black holes are enormously dense objects buried at the hearts of galaxies. (Smaller black holes also exist throughout galaxies.) In this illustration, the supermassive black hole at the center is surrounded by matter flowing onto the black hole in what is termed an accretion disk. This disk forms as the dust and gas in the galaxy falls onto the hole, attracted by its gravity.

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