rhysy.net

Science Visuals

Unlike the other, purely artistic endeavours, these projects are meant to be as realistic as possible. Some are illustrations to describe some particular fact; others are direct visualisations of raw data.

Outreach

  

Asteroid 1998QE2

An asteroid that has such low gravity you could easily jump off it and land on its small moon... which is small enough that it could be mistaken for a space station. Also, it would almost certainly float, and it's just a few times larger (in terms of diameter) than the QE2. This is without doubt the greatest asteroid known to man.

  

Blue Marbles

It's all very well stating how much bigger Jupiter is than the Earth in terms of size and mass, but what do those numbers mean ? This series of charts and two animations attempts to show this more graphically.

  

Solar System Vortex

How does the Solar System move through space ? I really wouldn't care, except that a popular video was made demonstrating that the planets trace rather nice helical paths through space. While this is true, it also linked to a lot of other, far more dubious (to say the least) "information". I made my own orthodox version, but this is now redundant because the author has made a far better version which I fully endorse.

  

VY Canis Majoris

One of the largest stars known. But how large, exactly ? This sequence of images shows what our Solar System would look like if we decided to swap our pathetic sun for this terrifying behemoth.

  

The Light of Other Suns

Continuing the theme of VY Canis Majoris, I explore what our Solar System would look like with a variety of other stars in place of the Sun - from the tiny Proxima Centauti to the mighty UY Scuti. Includes a video and, of course, a more detailed blog post.

  

The Hydrogen Sky

Our eyes are kindof lousy - they can only see a tiny fraction of the EM spectrum. If we could see the hydrogen gas that fills the Milky Way, we'd probably never have even called it "space", because it's full of astonishingly intricate and beautiful structures.

  

Dark Matter, Away !

What would happen if we suddenly removed all the dark matter that we think fills our Galaxy ? Half of it would explode, that's what - as this video demonstrates. Of course, this doesn't preclude their being some other explanation for dark matter, as I describe here.

 

  

Galaxy Sizes

Galaxies come in a bewildering array of shapes and sizes, and these charts attempt  to put them in some kind of context. Our own Milky Way is neither pathetically small  nor impressively large.

  

Visualising Virgo

Everyone's favourite galaxy cluster. If you prefer a different cluster, well you're just silly. But what does it look like ? Find out with images and animations.

  

Mapping the Universe

The Virgo cluster not enough ? How about a large chunk of the nearby Universe then ? See 11,710 galaxies all at their correct three-dimensional positions. Now also in red-blue 3D !

  

Other

Various minor projects, like illustrating a dark matter galaxy, timelines of the Universe, and stellar evolution bookmarks.

 

Research that also looks pretty

 

Virgo Explorer

Images and video not enough ? Here I provide the Blender file I created to explore the cluster. Includes various scripts to select / colour galaxies according to various parameters and return information about them.

 

 

FITS in Blender

FITS files are the mainstay of astronomy and here I describe various ways to import  them into Blender. This is useful for 3D data sets since Blender has an infinitely better interface than any other specialist astronomical viewer. These scripts have been made redundant thanks to FRELLED, though.

 

 

Virgo.glass

Sometimes even animations aren't enough. You need a real, physical model. To celebrate the publication of my thesis data, I commissioned a laser-etched glass cube showing the data cube that consumed my life for five years.

 

 

FRELLED

My magnum opus - a feature-packed Blender-based FITS viewer designed to handle large 3D data sets. Instead of viewing the data slice-by-slice (though it can do that too), view it in its full volumetric glory in realtime. Designed for HI data cubes but quite capable of handling other data sets, it allows interactive data masking amongst many, many other features.

 

 

Galaxy Simulations

A field I'm increasingly active in, simulations can looks just as pretty as real data. This page is about visualising n-body particle data. FRELLED can now handle this too, but sometimes it's preferable to have a specialist tool (code is provided).

 

rhysy.net | feedback@rhysy.net