Star Trek

This is nice: a 3D simulated fly-through of the Orion Nebula, in visible and infrared light.

What times we live in! The nature of astronomical nebulae was almost completely unknown as recently as the beginning of the last century; it wasn’t even a hundred years ago that astronomers debated whether the spiral nebulae* might in fact be evidence of the audacious idea that there may be galaxies other than our own.

Now we have detailed close-up imagery of every large object in our solar system, and large-scale maps of the three-dimensional arrangement of the innumerable galaxies (and great intergalactic voids) that make up the whole of the observable Universe. And just for fun, we get to zoom around in the Orion Nebula.

*The “spiral nebulae”, it turned out, are other galaxies, at vast distances. The Orion Nebula is not one of these — it is a stellar nursery in our own galaxy, about 1,340 light-years away.

One Comment

  1. Jason says

    It is really pretty Malcolm. And the reference to Star Trek is apt: whenever I hear the word “nebula” I always think of the climatic battle scene in Wrath of Khan.

    Posted January 22, 2018 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

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