All of the materials I describe here can be found on the Computational/Visualization Astronomy course page here. Note that the two weeks are out of order - we did an introduction to computational astrophysics course the week before the astrophysical visualization course.

First off, I can't thank the Banneker and Aztlan Institutes enough for letting me work with such fantastic and awesome students this summer! Being around such amazing young scientists was truly wonderful and humbling. Below is an outline of the basic materials I used for each day of classes. Feel free to use them for your own classes. I just ask that you cite AstroBlend for all the materials and Tomer Nussbaum if you particularly use his stuff.

The material described here is for 4 days of 1.5 hours of classes. The students spent 9am-10:30am working on computational skills (like those described here) and 10:30am - 12pm working on astronomy course work, and the rest of the day was spent on research and working on their presentations that are the culminating event for this program. For more information about the program please visit their wonderful website!

Materials from each Session

The sessions are broken up into day pages with each day page generally containing introductory lecture slides, a code section where various example codes for different projects are linked, a resources section containing extra useful materials to be downloaded as well as external links to other information about the topics we were exploring. There were occasionally other instructions about methods and miscellaneous code for project extensions.

Computational Astrophysics Pre-Course

While not directly related to visualization, before the week of classes related to astrophysical visualization the students worked on some computational problems so that they would have some data sets to visualize. This included working with N-body systems (systems of objects which interact with each other purely through the force of gravity), include calculating the stability of planetary orbits, and the trajectories of star and gas particles during the mergers of galaxies. The outline of the days and links to the materials for the day pages for this week can be found under the "Day Pages: Computational Astrophysics" heading here.

Visualization Day 1: 2D Movies

During this session the students used the data they had generated from the previous computational astrophysics week to make some trajectory plots in 2D with the open source tool FFmpeg. A few example movies are shown below. The code to make these movies is available on this day page.

Below are a few examples of planetary trajectory and galaxy merger movies.

Visualization Day 2: 2D Movies/3D Static Models

During this session the students continued making several two dimensional plots of their data and started exploring generating static three dimensional models of their data. These static plots were then extended to moving three dimensional visualizations during Day 3, as described below.

Visualization Day 3: 3D Interactive Movies on Sketchfab

During this session the students made three dimensional interactive movies and posted them online using Sketchfab to share with the world! Below are some example movies. They also started exploring their online models with a variety of virtual reality tools.

Below are two examples of the types of three dimensional visualizations the students created from their simulated data.

Visualization Day 4: A Viz Party!

This day we had a little visualization party! The students shared their super cool models in 2D, 3D and within Virtual Reality. We also got a demo of some work that's being done to analyze data in augmented reality with the Hololense from the Glue team.

Below is a cool example of how to use the Hololense to view astrophysical data.

Future Posts

In future posts I will outline in more detail some of the methods that were developed for this program - in particular the methods needed to generate moving planet system models with texture maps and create the necessary files to make interactive three dimensional movies in Sketchfab out of astrophysical data. All of the code to do this is already shown in each of the day pages for this week of Astrophysical Visualization, but some concepts would benefit from going over them in more detail. If you can't wait, feel free to pursue the materials at your own leisure and send me questions through the contact form!