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.
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has discovered the largest known population of brown dwarfs sprinkled among newborn stars in the Orion Nebula, located 1,350 light-years away from the Earth. Also, they can see the tadpole-shaped gaseous envelopes encircling the protoplanetary disks. "By adding depth and structure to the awesome images, this fly-through helps elucidate the universe for the public, both educating and inspiring.It's a really wonderful thing when they can build a mental model in their head to transform the two-dimensional image into a three-dimensional scene". Now we have the chance to fly through the heart of one of the Milky Way's most scenic creations, the Orion Nebula.
"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.
The immersive video is an experience to be savored. But the faint jewel sparkling in the middle of Orion's sword is no ordinary stellar gem-it's a huge, blustery nebula that's furiously birthing stars.
The nebula is about 2 million years old and its stars are young, meaning that we have plenty to learn about their development and potential future as they grow. The Hubble space telescope captures light in the visible range seen by humans, as well as longer and shorter wavelengths in the ultraviolet and near-infrared ranges. Hurt and Summers worked with experts to study the structure within the nebula, beginning with the two-dimensional Spitzer and Hubble images.
Scientific intuition and scientific knowledge guided the 3D interpretation for creating the movie.
The visualization comes from NASA's Universe of Learning program, which provides educational resources to students and others interested in the space agency's astrophysics research. The duo first came up with a visible-light surface, and then the infrared features' underlying structure was created. "The main thing is to give the viewer an experiential understanding, so that they have a way to interpret the images from telescopes", explained Summers.