Vislab Research

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HI Global Scaling Relations in the WISE-WHISP Survey

E. Naluminsa, E. C. Elson, T. H. Jarrett

Type: Paper
We present the global scaling relations between the neutral atomic hydrogen gas, the stellar disk and the star forming disk in a sample of 228 nearby galaxies that are both spatially and spectrally resolved in HI line emission. We have used HI data from the Westerbork survey of HI in Irregular and Spiral galaxies (WHISP) and Mid Infrared (3.4m, 11.6 m) data from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) survey, combining two datasets that are well-suited to such a study in terms of uniformity, resolution and sensitivity. We utilize a novel method of deriving scaling relations for quantities enclosed within the stellar disk rather than integrating over the HI disk and nd the global scaling relations to be tighter when de fined for enclosed quantities. We also present new HI intensity maps for the WHISP survey derived using a robust noise rejection technique along with corresponding velocity fields.
Exploring and Interrogating Astrophysical Data in Virtual Reality

T.H. Jarrett, A. Comrie, L. Marchetti, A. Sivitilli, S. Macfarlane, F. Vitello, U. Becciani, A. R. Taylor, T. van der Hulst, and P. Serra

Type: Paper
Astrophysical data is inherently multi-parameter, with the spatial dimensions at the core of imaging, spectral, time-domain and simulation data. The arrival of mainstream virtual reality (VR) headsets and increased GPU power, as well as the availability of versatile development tools for video games, has enabled scientists to deploy such technology to effectively interrogate and interact with complex multidimensional data. In this paper we present development and results from custom-built interactive VR tools, called the iDaVIE suite, that are informed and driven by research on galaxy evolution, cosmic web large-scale structure, galaxy-galaxy interactions, and gas/kinematics of nearby galaxies in survey and targeted observations. The Era of Big Data ushered in by the SKA and its Pathfinders challenges our storage, calibration, reduction and refinement methods, and it also demands innovative ways to interrogate the data at intuitive – leveraging visual perception – levels necessary for new discovery.
iDaVIE-v: immersive Data Visualisation Interactive Explorer for volumetric rendering

Marchetti, Lucia; Jarrett, Thomas H.; Comrie, Angus; Sivitilli, Alexander K.; Vitello, Fabio; Becciani, Ugo; Taylor, A. R.

Type: Paper,
Software Release
We present the beta release of iDaVIE-v, a new Virtual Reality software for data cube exploration. The beta release of iDaVIE-v (immersive Data Visualisation Interactive Explorer for volumetric rendering) is planned for release in early 2021. iDaVIE-v has been developed through the Unity game engine using the SteamVR plugin and is compatible with all commercial headsets. It allows the visualization, exploration and interaction of data for scientific analysis. Originally developed to serve the HI Radio Astronomy community for HI source identification, the software has now completed the alpha testing phase and is already showing capabilities that will serve the broader astronomical community and more. iDaVIE-v has been developed at the IDIA Visualisation Lab (IVL) based at the University of Cape Town in collaboration with the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) in Catania.
Rising Star: a South African Astronomy Journey

S.A Macfarlane, D. Cunnama, VR Capture

Type: planetarium content, full-length fulldome film
For more details, please contact:
Sally Macfarlane
(24 minutes, VR or Fulldome, 4K or 8K unidirectional) Rising Star takes you on an astronomical journey from our beginnings through the development of astronomy research in South Africa and looks at what the future of astronomy holds for the country. In addition to introducing multi-wavelength and multi-messenger astronomy, it highlights the many remarkable facilities hosted in South Africa along with some of their latest results. The film is accessible to all ages and aims to excite both South African and International audiences about South African astronomy and inspire the next generation of astronomers in the country. As the first of its kind to be produced in Africa, Rising Star hopes to stimulate the production of many more locally produced planetarium films from multidisciplinary fields, with the goal of popularising Africa’s numerous scientific achievements.
The 2MASS redshift survey galaxy group catalogue derived from a graph-theory based friends-of-friends algorithm

Trystan S. Lambert, R. C. Kraan-Korteweg, T. H. Jarrett and L. M. Macri

Type: Paper
A galaxy group catalogue for the recently-completed 2MASS Redshift Survey (2MRS) is presented, consisting of 3022 groups, and 44572 redshifts, including 1041 new measurements for galaxies mostly located within the Zone of Avoidance. The catalogue is generated by using a novel, graph-theory based, modified version of the Friends-of-Friends algorithm. The results and graph-theory methods presented in this paper have been thoroughly interrogated against previous 2MRS group catalogues by making use of cutting-edge visualization techniques and the immersive visualisation facilities of the IDIA Vislab.

The WISE Extended Source Catalogue (WXSC)
I: The 100 Largest Galaxies

T.H. Jarrett, M.E. Cluver, M.J.I. Brown, D.A. Dale, C.W. Tsai, and F. Masci

Type: Data Release
Mid-infrared photometry and measured global properties of the 100 largest galaxies in the sky is presented, including the well-studied Magellanic Clouds, Local Group galaxies M31 and M33, the Fornax and Virgo Galaxy Cluster giants, and many of the most spectacular Messier objects (e.g., M51 and M83). This is the first release of a larger catalog of extended sources as imaged in the mid-infrared, called the WISE Extended Source Catalogue (WXSC).

The DataToDome Initiative at the Iziko Planetarium in Cape Town and the IDIA Visualisation Lab

Lucia Marchetti, Thomas H. Jarrett1, Angus Comrie, Alexander K. Sivitilli1, Sally Macfarlane, Russ Taylor and MichelleCluver, 2019, ADASS XXI

Type: Paper
With the advent of the SKA and other petabyte-scale data facilities, both the data storage and the data interrogation represent two new challenges facing the scientific community. The recently inaugurated Iziko Planetarium 8K Digital Dome and the Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy (IDIA) Visualisation Lab are two linked, cutting-edge research facilities in Cape Town that are exploring new approaches to handle the exploration and detailed interrogation of large astronomical (and multi-disciplinary) data sets. These include development of a server-client visualisation tool, the development of Virtual Reality software to explore large 3D data-sets, and the exploitation of the Planetarium 3D immersive projection to visualise big data-sets in the context of the DataToDome initiative.
Virtual Reality and Immersive Collaborative Environments: theNew Frontier for Big Data Visualisation

Alexander K. Sivitilli, Angus Comrie, Lucia Marchetti, and Thomas H. Jarrett 2019, ADASS XXI

Type: Paper
The IDIA Visualisation Laboratory based at the University of Cape Townis exploring the use of virtual reality technology to visualise and analyse astronomicaldata. The iDaVIE software suite currently under development reads from both volumetricdata cubes and sparse multi-dimensional catalogs, rendering them in a room-scaleimmersive environment that allows the user to intuitively view, navigate around andinteract with features in three dimensions.This paper will highlight how the software imports from common astronomy dataformats and processes the information for loading into the Unity game engine. It willalso describe what tools are currently available to the user and the various performanceoptimisations made for seamless use. Applications by astronomers will be reviewed in addition to the features we plan to include in future releases.
Virtual Reality and Immersive Collaborative Environments: the New Frontier for Big Data Visualisation

Alexander K. Sivitilli1 , Angus Comrie, Lucia Marchetti , Thomas H. Jarrett, 2019, ADASS XXI

Type: Poster
iDaVIE immersive Data Visualisation Interactive Explorer:  The aim of the iDaVIE software suite is to render datasets in a virtual room scale 3 D space where users can intuitively view and uniquely interact with their data in ways unafforded by conventional flatscreen and 2 D solutions.

In partnership between UCT Astronomy and IDIA, a laboratory for visual analytics has been created to develop and test hardware and software solutions for interactive visualization of large astronomical data sets. Central to the Visualization Lab is the Iziko Planetarium & Digital Dome, located in the heart of Cape Town. The fulldome facility is optimal for study and investigation of the largest-area data sets, including the Cosmic Web.