orion visualization
A new video from NASA shows the Orion nebula up close and in three dimensions. NASA

A new mesmerizing video from NASA’s Universe of Learning program shows the intricacies of the Orion Nebula up close and in three dimensions.

The visualization was made through a combination of the visible and infrared data collected by the Hubble and Spitzer telescopes, according to NASA. Teams at the Space Technology Science Institute and the Caltech/Infrared Processing and Analysis Center worked together to make the visualization.

Viewers are first brought from a wide view of the Milky Way to the Orion Nebula and shown the difference between the visible view, from Hubble, and the infrared view, from Spitzer, of the nebula. The view then changes to a close up of the nebula and then advances forward, right into it. The three dimensions show the gas and the stars that make up the brightly colored landscape and the view changes back and forth from visible to infrared and back as it goes.

What is a nebula?

A nebula is a specific area in space where dust and gas fill the areas between stars, according to NASA. Some can be seen with the naked eye from Earth, like the Orion Nebula that sits 1,344 light years away, but they really just look like a star in the Orion constellation, according to NASA.

The Orion Nebula is one of the brightest out there and NASA calls it the closest "massive star-formation factory." In addition to the proximity of the nebula, it's also fairly young making it a great nebula for researchers to study to learn more about young stars as well as those that are still in the process of forming, according to NASA.

Creating the video was a long process that involved astronomers as well as well as specialists in visualizations. Frank Summers, a visualizer worked with Robert Hurt, a visualization scientist, and experts who helped them analyze the structures in the nebula to create the video, according to NASA. Summers even wrote specific code to help increase the transparency of the video to give the gas layers a more realistic feel, to bring the Orion Nebula right to the viewers on Earth.