The Elephant Trunk Nebula in 3 dimensions
(please see below for viewing instructions)

Elephant Trunk in 3-D
All Images Copyright Steve Cannistra

Please note:  I found that viewing this in 3-D may cause headache, nausea, and/or eye discomfort.  Please do not view if you are prone to these problems!

Description and Viewing Instructions:

This is a 3-D version of my previous shot of the Elephant Trunk.  The left panel is the original image.  The right panel is distorted by selectively moving certain stars or nebula regions slightly to the right or left (to bring them into the foreground or background, respectively) in Adobe Photoshop.  In order to view, you must stare at the center, relax your eyes, allow them to become cross-eyed, until you see the combined image appear.  It takes some practice, but the effect is impressive.  This is best viewed with at least 1152 x 864 screen resolution.

Background and comments:

The inspiration for this comes from an article in Sky and Telescope (December 2003), which featured the 3-D work of Akira Inaka.
    Mr. Inaka's beautiful 3-D renditions were created by using distance data from the Yale Bright Star Catalog, which allowed him to determine the amount of shift needed to create an accurate illusion of distance.  Unlike Mr. Inaka's work, I have used artistic license in creating my 3-D version, generally selecting brighter stars and peripheral regions of the nebula for the foreground (i.e., these were shifted slightly to the right in varying degrees).  I also chose fainter stars for the background (by shifting them to the left).  Although this is not scientifically correct, it captures a quality of deep sky objects that we all know is present (3-dimensions), but is lost in our typical 2-D renditions.  I hope that you enjoy it!  

Please note:  Graphics on this website may not be reproduced without author permission.

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