Visualizing Astronomy

The CXC Education & Outreach Program at the CfA hosts a series of lectures on Visualizing Astronomy, and the first of this season’s is scheduled for Sep 18 at 1:30pm at Phillips:

Date & Time: Tuesday, September 18, 1:30pm
Location: Phillips Auditorium
Speaker: Alyssa Goodman (Harvard)
Title: Amazing New Tools for Exploring Astronomical Data

Abstract: Recently, an engineer at a well-known technology company told me that astronomical images are easy to compress, “because they’re mostly black.” As we all know, this could not be farther from the truth. In fact, the multi-wavelength, high spatial resolution, temporally-resolved data sets that astronomers now create and use on a daily basis offer the modern design and computer visualization communities some of the greatest, most interesting, challenges around. In our work at Harvard’s new Initiative in Innovative Computing (, we have undertaken several efforts aimed at bringing new computational visualization tools for discovery to scientists, and to the public. In this talk, I will highlight a few tools, some of which are already available for download, that make astronomical data more visually meaningful. The examples will include: 1) the “Astronomical Medicine” project, which has adapted medical-image display and analysis tools for use on 3D astronomical data; 2) the “Scientists’ Discovery Room” project, which is bringing highly interactive “off-the-desktop” visualization and interaction to the CfA and to Harvard as a whole, using touch tables, display walls, and new human-computer interfaces; and 3) the “World Wide Telescope” (WWT) Web Application, which is being developed at Microsoft Research and offers a path to a new kind of “seamless” virtual observatory for the future. The WWT project is part of the “Space-Time Machine” (STM) Consortium, which is a joint venture amongst the CfA, the IIC, and Microsoft Research. In October’s installment of the “Visualizing Astronomy” series, Dr. Pepi Fabbiano will discuss additional Virtual Observatory projects at the CfA, which are also related to the STM Consortium’s efforts.

Leave a comment