Astronomy Picture of the Day

Flight Through the Orion Nebula in Infrared Light
Video Credit: NASA, Spitzer Space Telescope, Universe of Learning; Visualization: F. Summers (STScI) et al.;
Music & License: Serenade for Strings (A. Dvořák), Advent Chamber Orch.

Explanation: What would it look like to fly into the Orion Nebula? The exciting dynamic visualization of the Orion Nebula is based on real astronomical data and adept movie rendering techniques. Up close and personal with a famous stellar nursery normally seen from 1,500 light-years away, the digitally modeled representation based is based on infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope. The perspective moves along a valley over a light-year wide, in the wall of the region’s giant molecular cloud. Orion’s valley ends in a cavity carved by the energetic winds and radiation of the massive central stars of the Trapezium star cluster. The entire Orion Nebula spans about 40 light years and is located in the same spiral arm of our Galaxy as the Sun.

Tomorrow’s picture: open space

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