Linking Visualization and Understanding in Astronomy #AAS223 #AASviz

by Guest on January 5, 2014

This is a guest post by Alyssa Goodman and accompanies her talk by the same name, presented at the AAS Meeting, at 11:40 AM on Monday. Talk slides will be online after the talk. Alyssa is a Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University and a Research Associate of the Smithsonian Institution. She studies interstellar gas and star formation.

Abstract

In 1610, when Galileo pointed his small telescope at Jupiter, he drew sketches to record what he saw. After just a few nights of observing, he understood his sketches to be showing moons orbiting Jupiter. It was the visualization of Galileo’s observations that led to his understanding of a clearly Sun-centered solar system, and to the revolution this understanding then caused. Similar stories can be found throughout the history of Astronomy, but visualization has never been so essential as it is today, when we find ourselves blessed with a larger wealth and diversity of data, per astronomer, than ever in the past. In this talk, I will focus on how modern tools for interactive “linked-view” visualization can be used to gain insight. Linked views, which dynamically update all open graphical displays of a data set (e.g. multiple graphs, tables and/or images) in response to user selection, are particularly important in dealing with so-called “high-dimensional data.” These dimensions need not be spatial, even though, e.g. in the case of radio spectral-line cubes or optical IFU data), they often are. Instead, “dimensions” should be thought of as any measured attribute of an observation or a simulation (e.g. time, intensity, velocity, temperature, etc.). The best linked-view visualization tools allow users to explore relationships amongst all the dimensions of their data, and to weave statistical and algorithmic approaches into the visualization process in real time. Particular tools and services will be highlighted in this talk, including: Glue (glueviz.org), the ADS All Sky Survey (adsass.org), WorldWide Telescope (worldwidetelescope.org), yt (yt-project.org), d3po (d3po.org), and a host of tools that can be interconnected via the SAMP message-passing architecture. The talk will conclude with a discussion of future challenges, including the need to educate astronomers about the value of visualization and its relationship to astrostatistics, and the need for new technologies to enable humans to interact more effectively with large, high-dimensional data sets.

A graphical overview of the talk’s content.

 

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alyssa Goodman January 6, 2014 at 6:35 pm

Here’s a quicky (90MB) PDF of my slides. We will post proper (700MB) Keynote file tomorrow, when I find a way to get that many MB to the web at this hotel! https://www.dropbox.com/s/wpphnerllgkttvh/AAS14Viz_AG.key.pdf.

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2 Alyssa Goodman January 7, 2014 at 11:36 pm

Here’s the link to the slides in Keynote format (and PDF format), and the handout in PDF format.
http://projects.iq.harvard.edu/seamlessastronomy/presentations/alyssa-goodman-linking-visualization-understanding-astronomy

3 Robert Siverd January 6, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Filtergraph is another useful online tool for plotting and visualizing large astronomy data sets. It emphasizes ease-of-use, speed, and collaboration. The service is free to use here:
http://filtergraph.vanderbilt.edu/

More information available here:
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2013A%26C…..2…40B
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213133713000218

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4 Alyssa Goodman January 7, 2014 at 6:36 am

Indeed, filtergraph is excellent. I hope others can post links to other important great software options, that I did not have time to mention. Thanks to all.

5 Joseph Wang January 11, 2014 at 6:19 pm

Question. What are some good resources for off-line plotting? I’m looking for something like plot.ly but for offline data analysis.

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6 Alyssa Goodman February 10, 2014 at 8:14 am

Today, I will reprise this talk as the Inaugural Seamless Astronomy Colloquium at the CfA. I’ve added this line: “filtergraph: filtergraph.vanderbilt.edu Flexible, interactive scatterplots and histograms in a browser” to the handout–sorry it wasn’t there for AAS!

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