View Full Version : 3D Astrophotos

2010-May-17, 10:25 PM
Do you think thereīs any point in depicting nebulae, clusters, galaxies in 3D, like, for instance, the 3D renditions of the 'Pillars of Creation'? Isnīt it unnatural, since we have only a ~6 cm baseline [the distance between the eyes], and will never be able to see things that way ?

2010-May-19, 09:44 PM
There wouldn't be enough parallax to give any kind of stereoscopic advantage.

2010-May-20, 07:11 AM
By 3D do you mean "three-dimensional renderings that the viewpoint can flyaround in order to see the nebula from different directions" (like the Orion Nebula flythrough in the Hubble IMAX presentation) or do you mean 3d like the Avatar movie or stereoptic (?) images? If the former, then yeah, I think there is a lot of point in doing that - it gives us a new perspective (literally) on the structure of the nebula or cluster or whatever it is. If the latter, then not really, since we haven't got enough separation in the individual images to make it really 3D anyway.

2010-May-20, 12:35 PM
I don't think we have enough data to make truly accurate 3d images of any nebula; they are all too far away. So any 3d image is a rsult of at least some artistic licence. But some 3D images are pretty realistic seeming, at least to my eyes, and they really help me to visualise what is really happening in thse nebulae.

Sometimes the visual impression one might gain from a 3d representation can be wrong- spiral galaxies look to me like they consist of matter spiralling down a drain, but despite the central black hole present in most such objects, this impression is wrong.

2010-May-20, 01:31 PM
Thanks. I agree with everybody. My point is that 3D rendering of astronomical objects maybe useful for some pedagogical ends, but they can be misleading, because we are obviously incapable of seeing depth at such distances. From the human perspective the universe is a flat canvas [and so are distant objects on the surface of the planet], but people tend to believe that those gorgeous images are what you see if you were uplifted to space.

2010-May-20, 04:22 PM
I don't think they're necessarily (completely) unrealistic. We could for example see that a star is lighting up clouds of gas and dust behind it, so we have an idea about the 3D structure of the nebula in that case. I'm pretty sure that's how we know that there's a bowl-shaped depression that faces us in the orion nebula that in which the Trapezium stars are embedded.