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Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 869
# 14
04-24-2013, 11:32 AM
Originally Posted by wanderintx View Post
Bad Astronomy had a video that covered the unrealistic depictions of nebula in science fiction. In a planetary nebula formed from the expanding mass ejected from a star, you would likely not notice being in the nebula. They did say that large molecular clouds like Orion should offer some interesting views, even within it. This would be due to the denser particles in portions of the structure.
I would have to look at his reasoning for not being able to see a planetary nebula, but the Orion Nebula is a stellar nursery and is tremendously large, so it would be hard to miss.

Emission nebulas get their unique colors mainly from the gasses electrons moving from excited states to less excited states, so the temperature gradient and element/molecular gradient of the cloud determines the "color".

I would imagine inside a big nebula all you would see would be a haze, like a foggy day in San Francisco or London. You would probably not see rolling clouds of many colors like you see on Star Trek.