Download Video

Video Information

Subscribe to Series


Trifid's Shifting Sides

This movie shifts from the well-known visible-light picture of the glowing Trifid Nebula to infrared views from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The Trifid Nebula is a giant star-forming cloud of gas and dust located 5,400 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius.

The false-color Spitzer images reveal a different side of the Trifid Nebula. Where dark lanes of dust are visible trisecting the nebula in the visible-light picture, bright regions of star-forming activity are seen in the Spitzer pictures. All together, Spitzer uncovered 30 massive embryonic stars and 120 smaller newborn stars throughout the Trifid Nebula, in both its dark lanes and luminous clouds. These stars are visible in all the Spitzer images, mainly as yellow or red spots. Embryonic stars are developing stars about to burst into existence.

Ten of the 30 massive embryos discovered by Spitzer were found in four dark cores, or stellar "incubators," where stars are born. Astronomers using data from the Institute of Radioastronomy millimeter telescope in Spain had previously identified these cores but thought they were not quite ripe for stars. Spitzer's highly sensitive infrared eyes were able to penetrate all four cores to reveal rapidly growing embryos.

The movie begins with a visible-light image from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Tucson, Ariz., then shifts to a Spitzer picture from its infrared array camera. The next image is a combination of data from Spitzer's infrared array camera and its multiband imaging photometer. The final still is made up of data from only the multiband imaging photometer.

The Spitzer infrared array camera image is a three-color composite of invisible light, showing emissions from wavelengths of 3.6 microns (blue), 4.5 microns (green), 5.8 and 8.0 microns (red). The Spitzer mosaic image from the infrared array camera and multiband imaging photometer consists of light of 4.5 microns (blue), 8.0 microns (green) and 24 microns (red). The multiband imaging photometer image shows 24-micron emissions.

Browse Videos in Science Animations

2040100 per page

Details or Icons

Page-nav-left Page 2 of 4 Page-nav-right

Go to page


Blacker than Black

This artist's animation illustrates the hottest planet yet observed in the universe. The scorching ball of gas, a "ho...

Watch now


Highway to the Danger Zone

"The further on the edge, the hotter the intensity," sings Kenny Loggins in "Danger Zone," a song made famous by the ...

Watch now


Infrared Rose

This movie begins by showing an optical image of the Rosette nebula, a turbulent star-forming region located 5,000 li...

Watch now


Two Suns Raise Family of Planetary Bodies

This artist's animation depicts a faraway solar system like our own -- except for one big difference. Planets and ast...

Watch now


Hot, Dry, and Cloudy (Artist Concept)

This artist's concept animation shows a cloudy Jupiter-like planet that orbits very close to its fiery hot star. NASA...

Watch now


Stars Spring Up Out of the Darkness

This artist's animation illustrates the universe's early years, from its explosive formation to its dark ages to its ...

Watch now


Hubble-Spitzer Orion

This video cycles between the Hubble view, the Spitzer view, and the combined Hubble-Spitzer view of the Orion Nebula.

Watch now


Making a Great Observatories Composite

This video shows how a Hubble image and a Spitzer image of the Orion Nebula were combined to create a new, multi-wave...

Watch now


Who Ya Gonna Call?

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope is a galactic ghost buster, spotting hidden massive stars and other monsters lurking i...

Watch now


Order Amidst Chaos of Star's Explosion

This artist's animation shows the explosion of a massive star, the remains of which are named Cassiopeia A. NASA's Sp...

Watch now


Fire and Ice Planet (without data plot)

This artist's animation shows a blistering world revolving around its nearby "sun." NASA's infrared Spitzer Space Tel...

Watch now


Fire and Ice Planet

This artist's animation shows a blistering world revolving around its nearby "sun." NASA's infrared Spitzer Space Tel...

Watch now


Journey to Orion

This movie begins with a visible view of the famous Orion constellation. Superimposed on the area near Orion's sword ...

Watch now


Stars Can't Spin Out of Control

This artist's animation demonstrates how a dusty planet-forming disk can slow down a whirling young star, essentially...

Watch now


Fade to Red

This animation shows the Andromeda galaxy, first as seen in visible light by the National Optical Astronomy Observato...

Watch now


Birth of 'Phoenix' Planets?

This artist's animation depicts the explosive death of a massive star, followed by the creation of a disk made up of ...

Watch now


Cigar Galaxy up in Smoke

This movie compares a visible-light view of the "Cigar galaxy" to an infrared view from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescop...

Watch now


The Cry of Cassiopeia A

This animation begins with a stunning false-color picture of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A. It is made up of ima...

Watch now


Space Eyes See Comet Tempel 1

This artist's concept of Tempel 1 illustrates the comet's shape, reflectivity, rotation rate and surface temperature,...

Watch now


Carina in Context

This animation starts with an image of a larger but lower resolution image of the Carina Nebula from the Midcourse Sp...

Watch now