The Hubble Space Telescope was launched 24 years ago last week, and this newly released video is a birthday present of sorts — to us!
Here you can fly into the Monkey Head Nebula (also known as NGC 2174), and this video showcases both visible and infrared light views of a collection of pillars along one edge of the nebula. The sequence begins with a view of the night sky near the constellation of Gemini and Orion, then zooms through a region of of pillars and peaks of dust.
Then comes a cross-fade transitions between Hubble’s visible and infrared light views, and it also takes you from a two-dimensional image to a three-dimensional sculpted model of the region. The camera then pulls back to reveal the landscape of evaporating peaks of gas and dust surrounded by stars.
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The folks at the HubbleSite say that this visualization is intended to be a reasonable interpretation (not scientifically accurate) and that distances within the model are significantly compressed.