A Stereo 3-D Flight Into the Dark Pillars of Carina

About this video
Duration: 30 seconds

This scientific visualization creates a three-dimensional virtual tour of several dark pillars of cool gas in the Carina Nebula. The stars and nebula layers from Hubble's two-dimensional image have been separated using both scientific knowledge and artistic license to create the depth in the movie. Of note, the relative distances between stars and the nebula have been greatly compressed. The result is an intriguing journey through a virtual cosmic landscape.

This version of the movie is presented in anaglyph stereo 3D and is viewable with glasses that have a red lens over the left eye and a cyan (a.k.a. blue-green) lens over the right eye. Such glasses are often made of cardboard and have been distributed in numerous 3-D promotions. An internet search for "red cyan anaglyph glasses" will provide many options for obtaining such glasses.


Questions about viewing anaglyph stereo 3-D movies:

Q: My glasses don't work with your movies. What's wrong?

A: There are many techniques for presenting stereo 3-D movies. The glasses for one technique can not be used to view a movie encoded with another technique.

Our movies are produced for red/cyan anaglyph stereo 3D. In order to view them, the glasses must have a red lens over the left eye and a cyan (a.k.a. blue-green) lens over the right eye.

Several other types of anaglyph stereo 3-D glasses are available including red/blue, yellow/blue, and magenta/green. Those glasses will not be able to view our movies correctly.

In addition, stereo 3-D glasses that are used in commercial movie theaters are not compatible with our movies. Those glasses generally use polarizing filters (not color) to separate the left and right eye images.

Finally, stereo 3-D glasses made for stereo 3-D televisions are not compatible with our movies. These glasses generally use active shutter technology (alternately blinking left and right eyes) to create stereo 3D.

Sources for the correct glasses may be found through an internet search for "red cyan anaglyph glasses."

Q: Why does it seem like I get "double vision" when watching the movies?

A: Anaglyph stereo 3D does not provide perfectly clean separation of the left- and right-eye images. It is common to see a "ghosting" effect, especially on bright and/or sharply defined objects. Except in controlled circumstances, this effect can not be avoided.

The problem arises because some of the color meant for only one eye is, in practice, seen by both eyes. If you close one eye and look at a bright point, like a star, you may find that you see two images of that star. One will generally be brighter (the image that eye is supposed to see) and the other will be fainter (the "ghost" image meant for the other eye).

People often find that after watching lots of anaglyph stereo 3-D movies they can train themselves to ignore the ghosting. However, the problem is inherent in the technique and can not be eliminated entirely.

Q: I am color blind. Can I see the stereo 3-D movies?

A: Unfortunately, no. The anaglyph stereo 3-D technique relies on colors to separate the left and right eye images. If one can not see or distinguish between certain colors, then the anaglyph stereo 3-D effect will not work.

Dark Nebulae, Emission Nebulae, HD Video, Nebulae, Scientific Visualizations


NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon, L. Frattare, Z. Levay, and F. Summers (STScI)

Publication: September 16, 2010

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