This movie begins with a visible-light zoom into the Horsehead Nebula and a cross-fade to an infrared-light view. The sequence starts with a wide-field, ground-based view of the Orion constellation along with the bright stars Sirius (lower center) and Procyon (upper center). The view zooms into the Horsehead region on the left side of Orion's belt. A cross-fade to infrared light reveals the new Hubble view. To fill out the widescreen frame, the central Hubble image has been augmented by ground-based observations from the European Southern Observatory's Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA).
The video continues with a scientific visualization of a flight into the infrared Horsehead. The three-dimensional interpretation has been sculpted to create a wispy and mountainous environment, with stars distributed in an approximate and statistical manner. The computer graphics model is intended to be scientifically reasonable, but not fully accurate. This imaginative traverse of the glowing gaseous landscape provides an inspiring spaceflight experience that brings the celestial scene to life.
NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon, T. Borders, L. Frattare, Z. Levay, and F. Summers (Viz 3D Team, STScI);
Horsehead image: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), J. Emerson (ESO, VISTA), and Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit
Night sky image: A. Fujii;
Survey image: Digitized Sky Survey (DSS), STScI/AURA, Palomar/Caltech, and UKSTU/AAO;
IR image: J. Emerson (ESO, VISTA), and Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit
Publication: April 19, 2013