Be sure to full screen this 10m42s computer-generated nebula by Teun van der Zalm, who creates 3D nebulae visualizations built from particle physics for VR games, visual effects films, and fulldome planetarium shows. The accompanying music is by Lee Rosevere.

What exactly is a nebula? From Wikipedia:

A nebula is an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionized gases… Although denser than the space surrounding them, most nebulae are far less dense than any vacuum created on Earth – a nebular cloud the size of the Earth would have a total mass of only a few kilograms. Many nebulae are visible due to their fluorescence caused by the embedded hot stars, while others are so diffuse they can only be detected with long exposures and special filters. Some nebulae are variably illuminated by T Tauri variable stars. Nebulae are often star-forming regions, such as in the “Pillars of Creation” in the Eagle Nebula. In these regions the formations of gas, dust, and other materials “clump” together to form denser regions, which attract further matter, and eventually will become dense enough to form stars. The remaining material is then believed to form planets and other planetary system objects.

See photos of real nebulae via NASA.

Watch this next: The Violent End Stage of Star Formation and The Hubble Space Telescope Reflects the Cosmos.

via Kottke.

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