Vis Lab Gallery

Jump to: Virtual Reality; Cobra Panorama ; FullDome (planetarium)

Virtual Reality

HTC Vive system, including headset, hand paddles and trackers. What is not shown is our computer system, most importantly the Nvidia 1080ti GPU.
Dr. Lucia Marchetti trying out the VR system, with developer Dr. Angus Comrie looking on. The data set being explored is the 3D stellar catalogue from the ESA GAIA mission (DR1). Here's another view of Lucia with the paddles high in the air.
The cosmic web of galaxies as seen in the 2MASS Photometric Redshift Catalogue (Bilicki & Jarrett). Each particle, rendered with a 'halo', is a galaxy with tens of billions of stars. Here we are far from the origin (where the Milky Way is located), looking down into the web. The trick with VR is to have a transparency that allows deep exploration (along vast lines of sight) without losing detail. Click on the image left to see a big 4K version in high fidelity.
Transparency and how the catalogue data is loaded (buffered) have a coupling that can effect how the data looks to the eye. We employ an efficient shuffling and sparse octree (subset) method to overcome (mitigate, really) these issues. See the animated gif here to compare the different methods.
Inside the virtual world, exploring the cosmic web of galaxies. The light blue box is the 'interaction space' where the user can specify regions to be given feedback (e.g., statistics, or catalogue entries or archival searches). This interaction box is the most important aspect to VR being used for science exploration. Click on the image left to see both "eyes".

Cobra Panorama

See a montage of the Cobra installation by Tom and Angus on Nov. 22 2017. Four major items: Cobra curved screen, Cobra hood & spherical mirror, 4K Sony projector, and computer/GPU.
Second set of snaps showing the final bits of the exciting installation. Includes Charl Cater and Russ Taylor.
Calibrating the Cobra. Here Angus is setting the (fine) distortion corrections.
Angus and Charl puzzling over the distortion corrections (not quite right, yet)
Looking at the 4K sony laser projector, mounted in the top, rear of the Cobra. The image is projected through a small hole in the mount, reflecting off a spherical mirror mounted in the 'hood' of the cobra, which projects it down to the curved screen.
The distortion corrections are now looking about right. Angus has used the grid to make fine corrections to the lateral and horizontal (2D plane) warping.
Indeed the corrections are spot on. Here Russ Taylor is admiring his radio continuum panorama of the Milky Way. Here is another view which nicely demonstrates the curvature of the screen.
Dr. Maria Kapala admiring the immersive view of the Andromeda Galaxy. Here we are using World Wide Telescope (WWT). Here is Maria with the Crab Nebula, demonstrating the diverse imaging in the WWT.
PhD student Christine Hall (Kingston Uni) sifting through the multi-wavelength imaging for the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51), from the WWT archive. Here is another view.
Prof. Tom Jarrett with his beloved Cobra invoking the Crab Nebula through the WWT.

Full Dome / Planetarium

Isiko Planetarium under construction for a few months (late 2015 to May of 2016), including reconfiguring the theatre, re-skinning the dome screen, installation of the projectors and computers clusters.
Inside the dome, construction is going well. Here Michelle Cluver is checking out the newly completely floor and re-skinned & painted dome. Check out this picture of the dome skin.
Sept 2016. While we await our new Digital Dome, we take some time to learn the SkySKAN software: Digital Sky -- Dark Matter. Note Theo Ferreira in the front row, he's keeps the theatre and planetarium running. Michelle Cluver is in the back. Picture credit goes to Martin Ratcliffe.
May 2017. It's showtime!! Main opening event for Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome in Cape Town South Africa - dignitaries and faculty from across government, academia, and national TV gathering now. Picture credit goes to Martin Ratcliffe.
The grand opening of the new digital dome and planetarium was a full week of wine and dine with VIPs. Picture credit goes to Martin Ratcliffe; here is his facebook caption for this pic: IPS President elect Mark Subbarao and Research Chair in the Astro Department at UCT, Tom Jarrett, sport suitable ties for the opening of Iziko Museums Planetarium and Digital Dome tonight. Many people, including head of the SKA in S Africa and many research institutions and agencies, too many to mention, enjoyed our new presentations. Years of work and collaboration came together tonight. Sky-Skan Mark SubbaRao Thomas Jarrett Michelle Cluver Beth Moger.
After a succesful installation and grand opening, the SkySKAN masters of the universe (Beth Moger and Martin Ratcliffe) dine and relax with Michelle Cluver and Tom Jarrett.
A look at the theatre and the control center. Michelle Cluver is chatting with Beth Moger, who is at the controls.
The theatre has six Sony laser projectors in total: four complete the 360 degree azimuth, and two for the zenith. Here is one of the azimuth projectors. A zenith projector is shown here.
Computer clusters that drive the projection and planetarium software. Left side: production clusters; right side: research clusters. Each cluster has 1 master (host) and 12 clients, in addition to a sound computer. Two computers (each with a NVIDIA P6000 GPU) controls a Sony Laser projector.
Michelle Cluver is thrilled with her new 'sandbox', a computer cluster with more GPUs than previously thought possible.
You have arrived (in the Digital world) when you can launch from the surface of Earth and look back on the blue marble.
It is even possible to leave the Milky Way and look back upon its splendor. Here Michelle is piloting the intergalactic spaceship.
Flying out into the great beyond, we encounter the realm of the galaxies. Here we see the 3-D catalogue "2MASS Photometric Redshift Catalogue (2MPZ)", by M. Bilicki and T. Jarrett. Each point of light is a galaxy of 100 billion stars. The color coding indicates 'clustering', where red things live in big clusters and blue things are solitary.
In silhouette, Tom Jarrett admires the cosmic web of galaxies in the local universe. Picture credit: Beth Moger.
This is what happens when you fly through the 2MPZ (while snapping a picture). What you are seeing are 'warp drive trails' of galaxies. Note the bright blue light at the bottom -- that is one of the Sony laser projectors. Picture credit: Martin Ratcliffe.
Downward we fly into the 2MPZ, until we finally encounter the Milky Way, with its spiral arms and 'barred' inner core. Note the preponderance of red blobs (galaxies), which indicates the Milky Way lives near some big clusters (e.g., Virgo Galaxy Cluster). Note the black 'gash' in the distribution of galaxies (to the right side). That is where galaxies are hard to find and measure, because of the obscuring gas and dust and stars of the Milky Way. It is the Zone of Avoidance (cue the scary music).
Entering the Milky Way and carefully aiming for our Solar System, we encounter the spectacular planet of Saturn. By the magic of digital projection (driven by powerful GPUs), we can see background galaxies (2MPZ) in glorious splender. The 3-D locations of the planets and the galaxies are perfectly accurate. Note the Zone of Avoidance in the background (where the Milky Way itself obscures the Universe). This mp4 movie animates what is happening: the Milky Way first passes by (note the spiral arms and central halo/bulge), and then down to the Solar System and Earth.
There are many 3D astro data sets to study. Here we are looking at one of the most spectacular -- the HST-Cosmos distribution of galaxies. Tiny by the usual standards, only four square degrees of extent (i.e., pencil beam), yet it contains millions of galaxies because it extends to the very edge of the universe (when the universe was young). At the controls are Tom Jarrett and Christina Hall. Picture credit: Stephane Courteau.
Many data sets can be viewed at the same time, making for some nice contrast and comparison. Here we show the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) galaxies (note the pink structures) and the 'pencil beam' data from the Cosmos field (note the blue-cyan 'beam' to the lower right). In the background is the cosmic-microwave-background WMAP view of the early universe, showing the early space-time fluctuations (due to mass concentrations) that would later grow into the web of galaxies we see today. Picture credit: Stephane Courteau.
The UCT research consortium (Michelle Cluver and Thomas Jarrett) have done a number of workshops and shows for the research and general public community. (the latest being the Astro-informatics and Dot.Astronomy hackday events, and the Data-to-Dome outreach -- see below). Here Michelle Cluver is speaking to the audience as mighty Saturn and its rocky rings appear above her.
Tom Jarrett taking a break before a Data-to-Dome event. One of the Sony laser projectors in the foreground. Picture credit: Stephane Courteau.
Public outreach events, but here Michelle Cluver and Tom Jarrett bring a science-touch to the typical planetarium show.
The audience frequently take pix (without flash !!) of the beautiful and mesmerizing images and data sets that Michelle and Tom present. Here is a set from Claude Carignan.

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