This visualization provides both two- and three-dimensional perspectives on Hubble's 25th anniversary image of the nebula Gum 29 with the star cluster Westerlund 2 at its core. The animation begins with a backyard view of the southern night sky near the constellations of Carina and Vela. After outlining the constellations, the sequence zooms in past the well-known Carina Nebula to the neighboring nebula Gum 29. During the zoom, the images dissolve from a wide-field view down to the high-resolution Hubble image, a mosaic of nine Hubble observations.
The sequence then changes from a two-dimensional zoom to a three- dimensional flight. The flight traverses the foreground stars and approaches the lower left rim of the nebula Gum 29. Passing through the wispy darker clouds on the near side, the journey reveals bright gas illuminated by the intense radiation of the newly formed stars of cluster Westerlund 2. Within the nebula, several pillars of dark, dense gas are being shaped by the energetic light and strong stellar winds from the brilliant cluster of thousands of stars. Note that the visualization is intended to be a scientifically reasonable interpretation and that distances within the model are significantly compressed.
Publication: April 23, 2015