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Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 869
# 17
04-24-2013, 12:36 PM
Originally Posted by wanderintx View Post
Here is the Bad Astronomy video -

Mentions the Orion Nebula in the comments.
Interesting. He does not provide his calculations, but I suppose that is a challenge to others to do it themselves. Since I am not particularly interested in the subject, I will just defer to his authority. That being said, most of the nebulae depicted on Star Trek do not seem to be planetary nebulae, which have the telltale characteristic of being "rounded" or symmetric about a white-dwarf.

Originally Posted by mrspidey2 View Post
But that's mainly due to how the human eye works. You have receptors that can distinguish between colors but those aren't sensitive enough to work in darkness. Which only leaves those receptors that still work in low-light environments. However, they can't detect different colors, which is why you'll only be able to see shades of grey. Essentially, humans are colorblind in darkness.
That certainly may be part of it, but I am suspicious that an equal or larger part of it is due to the fact that planetary nebulae are rarely hot enough to emit a continuous spectrum.

The Orion nebulae, by contrast, is probably more continuous due to the greater magnitude of light coming from the nascent stars themselves, which means it is more energetic and more colorful.