This caught my eye as I was scrolling through my G+ newsfeed:

A little over 2000 light years away, toward the constellation of Cepheus, is a place where stars are being born. It’s a nebula, a gas cloud, and it’s called IC 1396. It’s monstrous, well over a hundred light years across – even at its tremendous distance, it’s wider than six full Moons in our sky.

Finnish astrophotographer J-P Metsävainio observed IC 1396, making a gorgeous image of it. But he wasn’t satisfied just doing that. He’d been playing with making 3D images for some time, and decided this might be a good opportunity to make a model of the structure of the nebula, and then create an animated GIF of it.

The results are… well, see for yourself:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2012/10/08/jaw-dropping-rotating-3d-nebula/

I’m not going to ruin the effect by trying to post the .gif here, go check it out!

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