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Astronomy

Zoltan Levay: Turning Hubble data sets and scientific images into breathtaking art

The production of the amazing images from the Hubble Space Telescope takes time, computing power, and a bit of guesswork.

12 June 2015, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3201506.02

Zoltan G. (Zolt) Levay is Imaging Group Lead in the Office of Public Outreach at Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, MD. Since 1993 he has primarily been responsible for producing publicly accessible images from Hubble Space Telescope data to illustrate Hubble's science discoveries. He is a member of the Hubble Heritage Team, a grant-funded program within STScI striving to establish a repository of the visually finest Hubble imagery.

Levay received his BS in astrophysics in 1975 from Indiana University, and the MS in astronomy in 1978 from Case Western Reserve University. He worked for Computer Sciences Corp. as an analyst and programmer with various space science missions at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, (Greenbelt, MD). He joined STScI in 1983, developing science analysis software, and joined the Office of Public Outreach in 1993 as an image-processing specialist.

Since 1989, Levay has been employed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) which operates the Space Telescope Science Institute for NASA.

He was awarded an Excellence in Outreach award from Goddard Space Flight Center, a Space Telescope Science Institute Individual Achievement Award, and the AURA 1997 Service Award.