Visualizing Multiwavelength Astrophysical Data

Hongwei Li, Chi-Wing Fu, Andrew J. Hanson
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 2008


   title={Visualizing multiwavelength astrophysical data},

   author={Li, H. and Fu, C.W. and Hanson, A.},

   journal={Visualization and Computer Graphics, IEEE Transactions on},







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With recent advances in the measurement technology for allsky astrophysical imaging, our view of the sky is no longer limited to the tiny visible spectral range over the 2D Celestial sphere. We now can access a third dimension corresponding to a broad electromagnetic spectrum with a wide range of allsky surveys; these surveys span frequency bands including long long wavelength radio, microwaves, very short X-rays, and gamma rays. These advances motivate us to study and examine multiwavelength visualization techniques to maximize our capabilities to visualize and exploit these informative image data sets. In this work, we begin with the processing of the data themselves, uniformizing the representations and units of raw data obtained from varied detector sources. Then we apply tools to map, convert, color-code, and format the multiwavelength data in forms useful for applications. We explore different visual representations for displaying the data, including such methods as textured image stacks, the horseshoe representation, and GPU-based volume visualization. A family of visual tools and analysis methods are introduced to explore the data, including interactive data mapping on the graphics processing unit (GPU), the mini-map explorer, and GPU-based interactive feature analysis.
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