Dive through the heart of a nebula in a wondrous NASA video

A 3D journey through the Orion Nebula

A 3D journey through the Orion Nebula

Take a tour of one of the most famous star-forming gas clouds in the night sky, the Orion Nebula, with a new, 3D visualization released by NASA. The three-minute three video of Orion Nebula that provides an immersive experience to the viewers was released to the public on January 11, Thursday.

"Looking at the universe in infrared light gives striking context for the more familiar visible-light views", Robert Hurt, a lead visualization scientist at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC) at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), said in the statement.

But based on data from the Hubble and Spitzer telescopes, we now have a feel for what it may be like to fly through one of the most famous ones - the Orion nebula.

"Hubble sees objects that glow in visible light, which are typically in the thousands of degrees".

"Being able to fly through the nebula's tapestry in three dimensions gives people a much better sense of what the universe is really like", says visualisation scientist Frank Summers, who led the team that developed the movie. The stellar nursery is visible from Earth as a tiny "star" in the sword of the constellation Orion, the Hunter, but now, Nasa is giving us a chance to see its complex and dynamic features and that too in 3D. "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".

The three-minute movie is meant to convey what space is really like - not the static 2D images we usually see, but huge, three-dimensional, dynamic and evolving.

The three-dimensional interpretation is guided by scientific knowledge and scientific intuition.

In the video, the video the view of the Orion Nebula changes back and forth from visible to infrared. The gaseous nebula and the layers were combined together after being rendered to create the visualization.

"The main thing is to give the viewer an experiential understanding, so that they have a way to interpret the images from telescopes", Summers said.

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