Space lovers who dream of wandering into the deep delve of our galaxy can now take a trip through the bright lights of the Orion Nebula, thanks to a new video released by NASA. Orion Nebula, which is almost 1,350 light years from Earth is known for giving birth to the newest stars in Milky Way. NASA and its partners recently created a spectacular Orion Nebula video where one can experience the wonderful ride through galaxy’s most beautiful sights.
This breathtaking Orion Nebula video was initiated by researchers at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore and the Caltech/Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC) in Pasadena, California. They combined both visible light imagery from the Hubble Space Telescope and infrared data collected by the Spitzer space telescope. In the first video, we can see the comparison of the Nebula in visual light and infrared light before zipping through the vibrant dusty cloud of gas that spans 24 light years across. The video shows toggling between visible and infrared light, revealing different features of the cloud of gas.
Frank Summers, who is a visualization scientist at Space Telescope Science Institute led the whole project. He initiated a team who designed special code to help visually render the tens of millions of layers of semi-transparent gas found in the nebula. They further created layers for other elements including stars, protoplanetary disks of matter, bow shocks including the veil which is layers of gas surrounding the nebula which also has a strong magnetic field. They further combined the layers to create a 3D effect.
This video can be used as a teaching tool to help astronomy students and planetarium visitors really experience cosmic objects. Here Frank Summers stated, “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.” “By adding depth and structure to the amazing images, this fly-through helps elucidate the universe for the public, both educating and inspiring.”