3D Astrophysics Newsletter

2017_steffen_2507.5 Today´s new entry:

Hybrid polygon and hydrodynamic nebula modeling with multi-waveband radiation transfer in astrophysics

Wolfgang Steffen & Nico Koning

Abstract: We demonstrate the potential for research and outreach of mixed polygon and hydrodynamic modeling and multi-waveband rendering in the interactive 3-D astrophysical virtual laboratory Shape. In 3-D special effects and animation software for the mass media, computer graphics techniques that mix polygon and numerical hydrodynamics have become commonplace. In astrophysics, however, interactive modeling with polygon structures has only become available with the software Shape. Numerical hydrodynamic simulations and their visualization are usually separate, while in Shape it is integrated with the polygon modeling approach that requires no programming by the user. With two generic examples, we demonstrate that research and outreach modeling can be achieved with techniques similar to those used in the media industry with the added capability for physical rendering at any wavelength band, yielding more realistic radiation modeling. Furthermore, we show how the hydrodynamics and the polygon mesh modeling can be mixed to achieve results that are superior to those obtained using either one of these modeling techniques alone.

Journal: Astronomy and Computing, in press
Comments: download accompanying mpeg movie here
URL: Download preprint
Submitted by: W. Steffen


Pigeon stereo

tumblr_o35y2fZI7O1t1ig6no7_400.gifThe other day I overheard a discussion between me and myself about pigeons. It was more about what their eyes and brains see when they walk back and forth picking up breadcrumbs that little kids and their granddads throw on the ground in front of a park bench. We have all seen it, haven´t we?

It´s like a discussion in stereo, you and yourself take a slightly different angle on a subject and discuss it vigorously in your head. The result is a confusing, but a slightly more complete picture of the matter. Continue reading

3D Astrophysics Newsletter

2017_7_4_quenard7.4 Today´s new entry:

Modelling the 3D physical structure of astrophysical sources with GASS

David Quénard, Sandrine Bottinelli, Emmanuel Caux

Abstract: The era of interferometric observations leads to the need of a more and more precise description of physical structures and dynamics of star-forming regions, from pre-stellar cores to protoplanetary discs. The molecular emission can be traced in multiple physical components such as infalling envelopes, outflows and protoplanetary discs. To compare with the observations, a precise and complex radiative transfer modelling of these regions is needed. We present GASS (Generator of Astrophysical Sources Structure), a code that allows us to generate the three-dimensional (3D) physical structure model of astrophysical sources. From the GASS graphical interface, the user easily creates different components such as spherical envelopes, outflows and discs. The physical properties of these components are modelled thanks to dedicated graphical interfaces that display various figures in order to help the user and facilitate the modelling task. For each component, the code randomly generates points in a 3D grid with a sample probability weighted by the molecular density. The created models can be used as the physical structure input for 3D radiative transfer codes to predict the molecular line or continuum emission. An analysis of the output hyper-spectral cube given by such radiative transfer code can be made directly in GASS using the various post-treatment options implemented, such as calculation of moments or convolution with a beam. This makes GASS well suited to model and analyse both interferometric and single-dish data. This paper is focused on the results given by the association of GASS and LIME, a 3D radiative transfer code, and we show that the complex geometry observed in star-forming regions can be adequately handled by GASS+LIME.

Journal: MNRAS, 468, 685–702 (2017)
URL: https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stx404
Submitted by: David Quénard

3D Astrophysics Newsletter

2017_7_3_diemer7.3 Todays new entry:

The Fabric of the Universe: Exploring the cosmic web in 3D prints and woven textiles

Benedikt Diemer & Isaac Facio

Abstract: We introduce The Fabric of the Universe, an art and science collaboration focused on exploring the cosmic web of dark matter with unconventional techniques and materials. We discuss two of our projects in detail. First, we describe a pipeline for translating three-dimensional density structures from N-body simulations into solid surfaces suitable for 3D printing, and present prints of a cosmological volume and of the infall region around a massive cluster halo. In these models, we discover wall-like features that are invisible in two-dimensional projections. Going beyond the sheer visualization of simulation data, we undertake an exploration of the cosmic web as a three-dimensional woven textile. To this end, we develop experimental 3D weaving techniques to create sphere-like and filamentary shapes and radically simplify a region of the cosmic web into a set of filaments and halos. We translate the resulting tree structure into a series of commands that can be executed by a digital weaving machine, and describe the resulting large-scale textile installation.

Journal: arXiv preprint server
URL of preprint: https://arxiv.org/abs/1702.03897
Submitted by: Benedikt Diemer

3D Astrophysics Newsletter

2017_7_2_pomarede7.2 Today´s new entry:

Cosmography and Data Visualization

Daniel Pomarede, Helene M. Courtois, Yehuda Hoffman, R. Brent Tully

Abstract: Cosmography, the study and making of maps of the universe or cosmos, is a field where visual representation benefits from modern three-dimensional visualization techniques and media. At the extragalactic distance scales, visualization is contributing in understanding the complex structure of the local universe, in terms of spatial distribution and flows of galaxies and dark matter. In this paper, we report advances in the field of extragalactic cosmography obtained using the SDvision visualization software in the context of the Cosmicflows Project. Here, multiple visualization techniques are applied to a variety of data products: catalogs of galaxy positions and galaxy peculiar velocities, reconstructed velocity field, density field, gravitational potential field, velocity shear tensor viewed in terms of its eigenvalues and eigenvectors, envelope surfaces enclosing basins of attraction. These visualizations, implemented as high-resolution images, videos, and interactive viewers, have contributed to a number of studies: the cosmography of the local part of the universe, the nature of the Great Attractor, the discovery of the boundaries of our home supercluster of galaxies Laniakea, the mapping of the cosmic web, the study of attractors and repellers.

Journal or Name of Publication: PASP Special Focus Issue: Techniques and Methods for Astrophysical Data Visualization, in press
URL of preprint: https://arxiv.org/abs/1702.01941
Submitted by: Daniel Pomarede

3D Astrophysics Newsletter

2017_sabin_2507.1 Today´s new entry:

Catching a Grown-Up Starfish Planetary Nebula: I. Morpho-Kinematical study of PC 22

Sabin L., Gómez-Muñoz M. A., Guerrero M. A., Zavala S., Ramos-Larios G., Vázquez R., Corral L., Blanco Cárdenas M.W., Guillén P.F., Olguín L., Morisset C., Navarro S.

Abstract: We present the first part of an investigation on the planetary nebula (PN) PC 22 which focuses on the use of deep imaging and high resolution echelle spectroscopy to perform a detailed morpho-kinematical analysis. PC 22 is revealed to be a multipolar PN emitting predominantly in [O III] and displaying multiple non-symmetric outflows. Its central region is found to be also particularly inhomogeneous with a series of low ionization structures (knots) located on the path of the outflows. The morpho-kinematical model obtained with SHAPE indicates that i) the de-projected velocities of the outflows are rather large, > 100 km/s, while the central region has expansion velocities in the range ~25 to ~45 km/s following the “Wilson effect”, ii) the majority of the measured structures share similar inclination, ~100 degrees, i.e. they are coplanar, and iii) all outflows and lobes are coeval (within the uncertainties). All these results make us to suggest that PC 22 is an evolved starfish PN. We propose that the mechanism responsible for the morphology of PC 22 consists of a wind-shell interaction, where the fast post-AGB wind flows through a filamentary AGB shell with some large voids.

Journal: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, in press
Comments: 11 pages, 9 figures, Rep.Fig.7
URL of preprint: http://arxiv.org/abs/1702.00029
Submitted by: Laurence Sabin

Treasures on the web

2017_nadeauThe other day I was researching literature for a new paper and came across an unexpected treasure on the web that I would like to share here.

David Nadeau is a name that I remember very well as the lead author of the incredible animation  of the Orion Nebula that he and a team of astronomers and computer scientists created in 1999 for the Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Natural History in New York (Nadeau et al., 2001). It was so inspirational, I watched it over and over again.

Only now I stumbled upon a description of a second animation that Nadeau and his team did for the same planetarium a few years later. It is an animation that shows the formation of stars in a nebula and the evolution of the nebula and the circumstellar environment as stars are formed and illuminate the gas.

What I would like to call your attention to is David Nadeau´s description of the project, and in particular the challenges and problems that they faced to achieve their goal. They combine several high resolution simulations and were dealing with huge amounts of data, that were impossible to handle at first. So they came up with a few tricks to transfer and handle the data. These tricks are of interest to anyone who might embark on a similar project. Also, it discusses how one has to find trade-offs between the limitations of simulated data and their visualization for the general public that follows a particular script. Nature, even in a computer, doesn´t always do what we would like it to do.

So, I would like to encourage you to read Nadeau´s Case Study: Large data volume visualization of an evolving emission nebula.

In their project Nadeau et al. where not able to simulate the dynamical expansion of the nebula due to the photo-ionization from the recently formed star. Will Henney and colleagues  did precisely such a simulation in 2011 for a research project (Arthur et al., 2011). The resultant phantastic movie was also used by the Hayden Planetarium in New York in their planetarium show “Journey to the stars“.