Image Gallery Documentation

The Spitzer image gallery is based on advanced web technologies that allow you to easily find exactly the image you want, and then view and interact with it in a variety of innovative ways. The sections below describe how to get the most out of your image searches, use all the features of the image pages, and access the information embedded into your downloaded images.

Searching for Images

The Spitzer site has a variety of powerful search functions that let you find the imagery you are looking for. In addition to a free text search that matches words against the title and description, you can filter by type or subject.

Filtering by Type

You can restrict your image searches to specific types of graphics by either clicking on the desired area on the main "Images" page or by selecting one or more checkboxes on the image search results page (right). These types include:

  • Astronomical – Images based on telescopic observations
  • Artwork – Artist's concepts and diagrams
  • Spectra & Graphs – Data-based charts and plots
  • Photographs – Pictures from cameras, not telescopes

Filtering by Subject

You can jump to images of a particular topic by clicking in the "Images by Subject" box on either the main "Images" page or in the search results. Once you are looking at a listing on a search results page you can narrow it further by clicking on a sub-topic under the the selected subject. The current selection is highlighted. 

By combining type and subject filters you can quickly narrow your search to a specific set of images. Note that images often appear under a number of different subjects. You can see the subjects assigned to an image in the "About the Object" box.

Any combination of types can be used for filtering, but only one subject can be used at a time. Clicking "All" at the top of either box resets the filter.

Displaying More Results

The image search page defaults to showing the most recent 20 matching images. You can display more by clicking on the "40" or "100" per page links in the blue search results bar (below). You can also switch to a more compact view by choosing "Icons." 

Click the arrows on the page number indicator to step through the results or type a page number in the box and hit enter to jump to it.

Exploring the Image Pages

Viewing & Download Options

Viewing options for images can be found in the upper left box on the image pages. View Full Screen is available for all images, opening them up in an on-screen lightbox.

View Zoomable is an option for the largest images, opening them in a pop-up window that lets you zoom and pan to see up to the full resolution of the image. Navigate by using the controls along the bottom of the image. You can also find the full list of zoomable images by choosing the Explore > Zoomables menu option.

View in WorldWide Telescope is an option for most unannotated astronomical images. Clicking the link will open a new window running the web client of WorldWide Telescope (this requires Microsoft's Sillverlight plugin, a free download). After the web app loads, you will see the image displayed as an overlay on top of the visible-light view of the region. You can zoom in and out with the scroll wheel, drag to pan around, and fade the Spitzer image in and out using the slider near the bottom of the window. If the link does not appear because the image has a border or annotations, try switching to a clean version in the "Image Components" box on the right. 

The Download Image section provides links to a variety of sizes and formats ranging from screen-size to the full original resolution. In addition to the high-quality JPEG images, a full-resolution TIF file is provided for high-end print work (note: the TIF files can be very large and slow to download). Desktop wallpaper versions are also available for some images.

Image Information

A variety of information is provided for each image beneath the download section, and, as appropriate, extra sections appear for astronomical illustrations and observational images. 

"About the Image" provides release dates, ID numbers, credit line, and type for all images

"About the Object" gives object names, subject codes, distances for all astronomically-themed images.

"Color Mapping" indicates how astronomical observations are color-coded in images. More information is available here.

"Astrometrics" identifies location in the sky, orientation, field of view for astronomical observations.

Related Media + Image ComponentsRelated Media

Images are often associated with press releases, videos, or other images. These related items appear in the "Related Media" box on the right side of an image page. The arrow shows you the asset you are looking at and you can just click on other items to switch to them.

Image Components

Some images come in several versions. Often they have been packaged with a title and credit information and sometimes are in multi-panel layouts. Individual, unannotated versions will always be available as well, and these may be accessed through the "Image Components" box on the right side of the page. Always check there for the best quality images or if you are looking for versions that are zoomable or viewable in WorldWide Telescope.

If an image component is part of multiple layouts, each instance will appear in a separate "Image Components" box allowing you to find all of the related images.

Utilizing Metadata in Downloaded Images

Any image you download from the Spitzer website carries with it embedded metadata that includes most of the information you can see displayed on the webpage. The Spitzer images use the Astronomy Visualization Metadata (AVM) standard that is being adopted by observatories across the world, and allows for these innovative applications. For more information about this standard, visit the AVM website.

General Image Information

Part of the metadata embedded in Spitzer imagery follows the IPTC standard used by photographers and graphic artists worldwide. This means that a variety of information will be available to common software and websites that support it (e.g. iPhoto, Picassa, Photoshop, Facebook, Flickr, etc.). Some of the available information includes:

  • Title
  • Caption
  • Date
  • Object Names (under Keywords)

For instance, if you import a Spitzer image into iPhoto, you will see its title, caption, and names/keywords have automatically been filled out for you. Upload one to Facebook and the caption will come along for the ride.

Astronomy Information

Other AVM information specific to astronomy is also included in any image downloaded from the Spitzer gallery. This information can be used by any application or website written to support AVM. This currently includes extensions for Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft's WorldWide Telescope, and some professional planetarium software. The astronomy-specific information includes:

  • Subject Codes
  • Web Page URLs
  • Observation Info
    • Telescope & instrument
    • Spectrum & Wavelength
    • Color Assignments
  • Positional Info
    • RA, Dec
    • Image Scale
    • Orientation
  • Publication & Proposal Pointers

The embedded metadata allows you, for example, to open a downloaded astronomical image in WorldWide Telescope and have it automatically identified and placed in its proper projection in the sky. Look for similar metadata support in other astronomy websites and software in the future.