Watch: Hubble video offers 3D tour through the Orion Nebula

By Brooks Hays

Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Want to take a virtual ride through the Orion Nebula? Hubble has the ticket.

Scientists at Hubble used visible and infrared light data to create a 3D journey through the famed nebula. Visible light observations were captured by the Hubble Space Telescope and infrared data was observed by the Spitzer Space Telescope.


Scientists first combined the two datasets to create 2D images and then converted the images into a 3D video.

"As the camera flies into the star-forming region, the sequence cross-fades back and forth between the visible and infrared views," scientists wrote in the video's caption. "The glowing gaseous landscape has been illuminated and carved by the high energy radiation and strong stellar winds from the massive hot stars in the central cluster."

Infrared data, which more effectively renders regions of cooler gas, helps astrophysicists see the nebula's complex internal structure. Infrared also reveals the nebula's population of faint stars.

"The higher resolution visible observations show finer details including the wispy bow shocks and tadpole-shaped proplyds," according to Hubble astronomers. "In this manner, the movie illustrates the contrasting features uncovered by multi-wavelength astronomy."

The Orion Nebula, also known as Messier 42 or M42, is found in the Milky Way, 1,344 light-years from Earth. It's the closest massive star forming region to our solar system.


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