Visualization of the Orion Nebula

Orion Nebula
Fly through a model of Orion Nebula done by the NSF for the Hayden Planetarium.

This page has a really cool video and description of a new video put-together for the Hayden Planetarium in NY.

Researchers used combined images of various wavelengths from multiple telescopes to create the volumetric model of the nebula. It is interesting to see the small teardrop-shaped masses of dust around the stars that are believed to be the beginnings of new solar systems.

The video is used in the Hayden Planetarium’s daily show and must look quite spectacular projected using seven 1280×1024 projectors across the inside of the dome. Most people can find “Orion’s belt” in the night sky – this helps to show one just exactly what is out there among those three brightly visible stars.

Some technical details from the article:
Animation frames were rendered using 900+ processors on the San Diego Supercomputer Center’s IBM RS/6000 teraflops supercomputer. Running one multi-threaded renderer on each 8-processor node, the frames were computed during a single 12-hour period.

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