I'm thinking of putting a large wall paper with an astronomical motive on a wall. I found quite a number of wall papers by various vendors, but most of them are obviously computer generated images, which is a no-go. It must be an image of an astronomical object, a nebula or a galaxy. (There's also a size requirement, not under 236 x 370 cm, so please do not suggest I use a printed image fitting a common frame format).

Now I found this wall paper. To my eyes it does not obviously look like CGI. But there are no diffraction artifacts visible for the bright stars; perfect circles it seems.

Can anyone identify the object?

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Not sure what you mean by 236 x370 cm, unless you specify a resolution. Also, that is huge. Even at 150dpi that is 300 megapixels! $\endgroup$
    – James K
    Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 12:46
  • $\begingroup$ I would not bet on this being an actual nebula. Google image search results are sparse: google.com/… - search is off a copy I downloaded to my computer. It's a Samsung Galaxy S III wallpaper. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 14:52
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    $\begingroup$ The foreground stars give it away. They're too perfect, round and resolved. It's CGI. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 15:45
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    $\begingroup$ An image search for large images of nebulae finds images such an eso image of the carina nebula, and a hubble image of the orion nebula that may be large enough if you are willing to scale the image. Similar searches for "galaxy" find a large image of the sombrero galaxy. If the object isn't named or numbered, assume cgi. $\endgroup$
    – James K
    Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 18:53
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    $\begingroup$ I confess I am baffled why people feel the need to CGI stuff like this. Sigh. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 19:56

2 Answers 2


This appears to be one of Sergii Tsololo's more convincing efforts in the synthetic "space" image genre. It is listed on various stock photo sites as "Blue and purple space galaxy," or with added 4-way spikes, "Blue space starfield with flares." A real astrophoto would identify the subject and not be tagged "abstract" or "fantasy."

To check it another way, I submitted the image to Astrometry.net, whose plate solver failed to match the field within their 10 minute time limit. When I submitted an amateur photo of the Trifid Nebula as a control, Astrometry.net found a solution in less than 1 second.


I'm thinking of putting a large wall paper with an astronomical motive on a wall. I found quite a number of wall papers by various vendors, but most of them are obviously computer generated images, which is a no-go.

Buyer beware. Huge printers are expensive, few places have them; you don't want wallpaper that's too skinny or paper that's not actually "wallpaper".

If you check that artists work he photographs a lot of vegetables too.

Can anyone identify the object?

Getty Images identifies it as: "Space galaxy - Blue and purple space galaxy", by 'sololos', Creative #: 91633822. That is most likely the original source. It's also available in a smaller size from the same person at iStock and is called: "Constellations. Cepheus (Cep) - Stock image". The image is purchased by various places to use unrestricted, for example the Irish Times wrote an article and used the image.

The "Large" size (assuming that's the size used by the place you plan on purchasing a copy from, to produce their enlarged version) is 4327 x 3245 px (36.64 x 27.47 cm) 300 dpi | 14.0 MP - a 14MP image blown up to 236 x 370 cm will be quite grainy close up. Every pixel will be a 10x10 block, if that was printed at 300 DPI (don't count on it) then 10 pixels would be 1/30th of an inch (~ 1mm). It's more likely to be 1/4 of that resolution, or 4x4 mm blocks.

The Wikipedia webpage for Cepheus and the Hubble Telescope image for Cepheus cause me to wonder if the image is correctly titled.

Cepheus Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration and A. Evans (UVA, Charlottesville/NRAO/SBU)

A 7.2 megabyte 3600x2749 (9.9MP) .TIF file of the constellation Cepheus is also available from the Chandra X-ray Observatory. By starting with a known source, and using a high quality format, you can find somewhere that makes huge prints, and end up with something that won't devalue your property.

As an example, one place, wants $400 to create wallpaper. Shop around and check reviews if you only pay a couple of hundred bucks you'll probably be wasting a couple of hundred bucks; it depends upon what you want it to look like and most importantly how close you intend to view it.

  • $\begingroup$ The interacting galaxies IRAS 21101+581 are located in Cepheus, but the constellation covers an area 600k times larger than this image. I think Tsololo's "constellation" images are are free-form artistic impressions. $\endgroup$
    – Mike G
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 2:14
  • $\begingroup$ Yes. I think the way to go is to get a few dozen real images and use software like GigaPan to make a gigapixel image and have that professionally printed. $\endgroup$
    – Rob
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 4:51

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