September 20, 2010

Flying through the Carina Nebula

One of my favorite parts of the IMAX movie Hubble 3D was getting to fly through objects like the Orion Nebula in 3D. Often, when looking at objects in the night sky, I tend to forget that what I see is a complex three dimensional object of which I only get to see one side. Hubble 3D’s voyages through space provided a refreshing view in that it transformed those two dimensional pictures into three dimensional environments, a representation of what the actual objects may look like.

Using new and old images from the Hubble Telescope, the Hubble team has created a new three-dimensional virtual tour of the Carina Nebula, embedded above. Even though the tour is not completely based on solid scientific data and takes great artistic license, it is still breathtaking and inspiring. For me, it reminds me very powerfully of how dynamic, and in a way, tangible, the universe is.

In order to view the movie properly, you need red cyan anaglyphic glasses. If you don’t have the glasses (sadly I don’t either…) you can still enjoy the new image of the Carina Nebula recently released by the Hubble team below. It combines observations of radiation resulting from oxygen, captured this year, and that from hydrogen, captured in 2005.

The Carina Nebula, in Oxygen and Hydrogen Emissions
Image: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Project

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