An up close 3D journey to Orion Nebula with NASA’s spectacular video
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An up close 3D journey to Orion Nebula with NASA’s spectacular video

The latest video released by NASA shows the viewers a 3D take into the famous Orion Nebula which is summarized into a movie which is 3 minutes long. This video literally makes you feel as if you are traveling via the interstellar clouds in the space.

With the help of astronomers and visualization specialists from NASA’s Universe of Learning Program, the scientists came up with this unparalleled 3D view of the Orion Nebula which was constructed by the information acquired from the infrared and observable vision of the Spitzer along with the ones from Hubble Space Telescope.

The video guides you through a journey of a breathtaking gaseous envelope that surrounds the glowing clouds, newborn stars, and protoplanetary disks. A combination of actual scientific imagery along with specialized techniques used in Hollywood helped create a well-curated visual effect for the Orion Nebula. The teams assigned for this task involved scientists from the Baltimore’s Space Telescope Science Institute and Pasadena’s Caltech (IPAC).

A visualization scientist, Frank Summers, from STScl, stated that this 3D video provides a graphic insight into the cosmos surrounding us. It provides the viewers, a virtual ability to fly through the 3D nebula with well-structured images that look real enough. It is an interesting and educating experience for space enthusiasts. One can also see delicate changes while the wavelengths shift which is normally invisible to our eyes.

Summers worked along with Hurt to create this movie out of science-based intuition and technical knowledge. The duo studied the structure of Orion Nebula that started with 2D images obtained from Hubble and Spitzer. Initially, a visible light surface was developed, after which the underlying structures and features were created.

To allow an efficient combination for the millions of gaseous elements that were semi-transparent, a special code was jotted down. This provided an ethereal feel to the video. Other components that made up the nebula were separated into layered images that were modeled separately. These components were bow shocks, stars, and protoplanetary disks. After a proper layout was decided, the gaseous nebula was paired with the layers to bring out a 3D video that accurately represents the Nebula.

A nebula consists of interstellar clouds that contain helium, dust, and hydrogen with ionized gases. The Orion Nebula bags the tag of being the brightest visible nebulae in the sky that can easily be observed with naked eyes. It is located at a distance of 1,350 light-years which is somewhere around 2 million years old.