The Depth of Space

By Phil Plait | April 9, 2009 12:00 pm

I love love love 3D anaglyphs: those funny red/green images that, when you put on the red/green glasses, pop out of the screen. I’ve written about some space ones before, created by a user named LEM on an Italian space forum. Well, he’s made more, and they are totally awesomely cool. Slip on the bichromatic goggles and soak ’em in.

Like this one: duck!

I love that the Shuttle is sideways. Somehow that makes it all the more interesting!

And then there’s this:

That’s the Space Station, of course. The Soyuz escape module is on the left, the robot arm on the right, and an array of mechanical equipment studs the station. You really can get a feel for how this thing was built to operate where gravity need not apply.

LEM has created a bunch more of these, many as stunning as the ones here; start here and scroll through. They are amazing.

Tip o’ the colored glasses to Paolo Amoroso.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, NASA, Pretty pictures

Comments (20)

  1. Jeremy

    Stuff like this is popping up on the web more and more often, but I don’t have a pair of blue/red glasses. Any good notions where I can get a pair for cheap/free?

  2. Todd W.

    When are you going to post stereogram versions of these, so those of us without bichromatic glasses can enjoy the effect as well?

  3. Thanks to Roberto Beltramini, aka Lem.

  4. Todd W.


    You could try finding some old, used DVD or VHS tape that’s a 3-D movie with the glasses included…

  5. Hey, everybody! If you “love love love” 3D stuff, then check out the web-site linked via my name. (N.B. If you are still using dial-up, the web page will take a bloody long time to load!)

  6. zaardvark

    There are plenty of reputable science supply websites, where you can get red/green or red/blue glasses for pennies. Some will make you order a minimum (30 pairs minimum for $5 or some such thing), but not all of them.

  7. Charles Boyer

    “Stuff like this is popping up on the web more and more often, but I don’t have a pair of blue/red glasses. Any good notions where I can get a pair for cheap/free?”

  8. rob

    hey, how does the shuttle re-enter if it is sideways? heh.

    i keep meaning to go and find some of those glasses each time you post a picture, but never remember! dang.

  9. Nathanial Burton-Bradford

    Hi Phil and All

    Anaglyphile ; ) here too…. great article and links.

    If I may be so bold – I’ve tried my hand at a few using the HD Video of the ISS fly-around.

    Here for anyone who’s interested.


    Nathanial Burton-Bradford

  10. So, how many people are going to rotate the Shuttle image to the “correct” orientation, and then complain that the image “doesn’t look right”?

    (I, too, am currently lacking the red/blue glasses. What does the image look like if you rotate it?)

  11. Nathanial Burton-Bradford

    Hi Ken B

    If I rotate my laptop sideways to view the shuttle ‘correctly’ the 3D illusion disappears!! I think it’s all to do with the way our eyes converge/diverge when analyzing depth…

  12. See, all I have is the glasses I got at the theater for Coraline, and they use the polarization method. (I know you’re supposed to “recycle” them, but dagnabbit they made me pay for them, and you never know when you’ll need to polarize some light every now and again.)

    Most places will give you a free pair if you send them a SASE, but I keep forgetting.

  13. CybrgnX

    Hi all:
    I am an odd one out as I prefer the free-view stereos for three reasons.
    Don’t need the silly glasses that give me a headache,
    The images are not all crappy looking in that they are normal images that can be used as such.
    Ok only 2 reasons.
    The down side is it takes a little practice to learn how. They are 2 methods….waleyed and cross eyed. I use the cross eyed method as it is easy. This similar to the stare-O-grams that were popular a few(?) years ago.

  14. CybrgnX

    forgot to make it clear that in Free-Viewing the
    right and left images are side by side.
    they look like the old victoian handheld stereo images.
    And the old viewers can be used to make the veiwing easier for those who cant seem to do it.

  15. Robby

    Greetings from Australia Phil – Thanks for sharing the images and looking at the comments above I can see a new product line to go with your excellent Book – Buy the book get a free 3d pair of glasses – solves all the problems at one – Good luck and all the best mate. Cheers Robby

  16. I second (or third, whatever) the call for more stereograms. Colored glasses mess up the colors in the picture (duh). With stereograms, it’s real color, and you don’t have an itchy piece of cardboard on your nose.

  17. Making anaglyphs is super easy in Photoshop or GIMP, just Google for “how to make anaglyphs.” I like this technique the best:

  18. what is the depth of space why it is called universe


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