Take a flight through the Orion Nebula with this awesome video

Olive Hawkins
January 13, 2018

The Orion Nebula has plenty of visible light, but the infrared technology allows you to also see the layers of the nebula that aren't as hot and bright-the light there has longer wavelengths, as opposed to the shorter ones we can detect with the naked eye. NASA has prepared an wonderful video of Orion Nebula which will provide viewers a unique 3-D experience of one of the brightest and most recognizable patterns of stars into the northern sky.

The video incorporates both visible and infrared imagery, giving the 3-minute clip depth of color and bringing out the structure of the nebula, located in the constellation Orion's belt. The 3D fly-through also helps in elucidating the universe for the public by adding structure and depth to the attractive images, all of which makes for an inspiring and educating experience. "This movie provides a uniquely immersive chance to see how new features appear as we shift to wavelengths of light normally invisible to our eyes".

The scientific video takes you on a flight through the nebula, following the contours of the gas and dust.

The nebula is about 1,350 light-years from Earth, and it likely represents a good example of the type of place our sun was born 4.6 billion years ago, according to NASA. At only 2 million years old, the nebula is an ideal laboratory for studying young stars and stars that are still forming.

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The experience of the whole thing is akin to flying a spaceship around baby stars and clouds of gas and dust heated by their intense radiation. Colorful Hubble and Spitzer images were then overlaid on the terrain.

By toggling between the Hubble and Spitzer views, the movie shows strikingly different details of the Orion Nebula. But by using a unique, high-contrast imaging technique developed by Laurent Pueyo at the Space Telescope Science Institute, astronomers were able to resolve faint images of a large number of candidate companions. The Spitzer space telescope captures light in the mid-infrared to far-infrared range, capturing objects and structures that are lower in temperature than what Hubble sees.

The two telescopes provide 2D images of cosmic objects, so the creators had to rely on both "scientific knowledge and scientific intuition" to create the 3D tour. "The program uses a "direct connection" to NASA science and scientists, to create content that "[enables] youth, families, and lifelong learners to explore fundamental questions in science, experience how science is done, and discover the universe for themselves".

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