False-color images were all the rage 15 years ago. Back when CCDs and digital processing were new, it was exciting to redecorate the universe. No one minded. Outside of astro-purists who hated chartreuse galaxies, the public probably loved the new paint swatches. After all, actual emission nebulae are always the same repetitious shade of red, as if God bought the paint at a close-out sale. Why not spruce it all up? Some photographers still do.Astronomy magazine subscribers can read the full column for free. Just make sure you're registered with the website.