All photos gets processed in one way or another.
Remember when you had you film camera, and you got films with different emulsions, depending on what type of light was used. You got films with an
emulsion for tungsten light, flash light, daylight, etc, etc. During processing you could change the exposure again, to bring out contrast, etc.
Digital photography is no different. Why do you think your camera (and that includes your cellphone camera) has got different settings for white
balance. The camera makes a guess as to what the average gray should be, and it bases everything around that. It is not very accurate, but it is
convenient. If you want to have accurate color, you have to photograph a calibration target, and change the white-balance according to that.
Your camera also does something called sharpening, which makes the picture appear sharper. If you have a good camera that can take raw images, you
will find it is a lot less sharp, than the jpegs that comes out of the camera.
You can do all sorts of things to bring out obscured details. Your camera does it automatically for you.
For professional stuff in which you want to bring out more and more detail, you work with raw images, and you don't allow the camera to do it for you,
as you know better than the camera what to do.
The same applies to astronomical images. All images are processed to bring out the most details.
No picture would ever look alike, even if the camera is stationary. What the picture looks like depends on the position of the sun, any clouds, any
haze, etc, etc.
If you want to say that NASA is cheating with the images, just remember that every other photograph you see are tweaked in the same way, even the
images that you take with your cell phone.
I do recommend you read up on photographic processing. It is not only used to cheat like in the fashion magazines, but it is necessary to make a
workable image out of the original.
edit on 15/8/2012 by Hellhound604 because: (no reason given)