This visualization is an excerpt from a longer sequence that explores the Orion Nebula using both visible and infrared light. Two correlated computer models were created based on visible-light observations from the Hubble Space Telescope and infrared-light observations from the Spitzer Space Telescope.
As the camera flies into the star-forming region, the sequence cross-fades back and forth between the visible and infrared views. 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. The infrared observations generally show cooler temperature gas at a deeper layer of the nebula that extends well beyond the visible image. In addition, the infrared showcases many faint stars that shine primarily at longer wavelengths. The higher resolution visible observations show finer details including the wispy bow shocks and tadpole-shaped proplyds. In this manner, the movie illustrates the contrasting features uncovered by multi-wavelength astronomy.
Publication: January 11, 2018