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Published on Jan 29, 2013
A scientific visualization of the Orion constellation as viewed from a three dimensional perspective. The true space distribution of the constellation is revealed by circling around the stars.
The camera begins with a pan across the sky to Orion. The lines of the stick figure constellation are drawn in, which unfortunately gives the viewer an impression of a 2D drawing. As the camera slowly begins to circle around the centroid of the stars, the stick figure quickly breaks into a long extended 3D structure. The camera backs up to keep the entire figure onscreen for the complete circle. At the end of the circle, the camera pushes forward to finish back at the location of the Earth/Sun.
Note that the stars are rendered with 3D distance dimming relative to the camera position. Stars get brighter or fainter as they are closer or farther from the camera viewpoint. Also, to avoid an obvious distraction, the Sun is not included in the visualization.
Credit: Frank Summers, Space Telescope Science Institute