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Season's greetings from space

STScI / Hubblesite
The gravitationally interacting pair of galaxies known as Arp 147 gets

the greeting-card treatment from the Hubble Space Telescope's team.

Are you looking for out-of-this-world greeting cards for the holidays? The folks behind NASA's Great Observatories have just the thing for budget-conscious do-it-yourselfers.

The Hubble Space Telescope is about as well-loved as Santa Claus, so the latest crop of Hubble holiday cards from the Space Telescope Science Institute should be a crowd-pleaser. Among this year's additions are last summer's popular "Stars and Stripes" picture as well as the "Perfect 10" image that was sent down just a few weeks ago after some remote-control repairs.

The Hubble team provides instructions for printing out the specially formatted imagery on standard-size photo cards or folded card stock. You can also take the files to a commercial printer and leave the job to the pros.

If you want to go green and save a tree, you can send one of the winter holiday e-cards offered by the Chandra X-ray Observatory Center. Lots of X-ray images from the orbiting Chandra telescope, another of NASA's Great Observatories, have been adapted for a variety of occasions - including Valentine's Day, for those who like to think ahead.

For the true do-it-yourselfer, how about adapting a picture of the Christmas Tree Nebula for your own purposes? You can snag the infrared image of your choice from the Spitzer Science Center's Web site (here's my favorite high-resolution version). Another picture from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope is tailor-made for a holiday ornament theme.

Those who know their way around an image-processing program such as Photoshop can work some magic with the postcards provided by the European Space Agency's Hubble Web portal - and even get a head start on a do-it-yourself Hubble calendar (let's hope 2009 is available soon).

In fact, there's no reason why you couldn't adapt any of the imagery from our Month in Space slide show for framing or sending. Here are links to higher-resolution versions of November's finest: