Immersive Virtual Reality Experiences for All-Sky Data
PubDate: May 2018
Teams: Swinburne University of Technology；Monash University
Writers: C.J. Fluke； D.G. Barnes
Spherical coordinate systems, which are ubiquitous in astronomy, cannot be shown without distortion on flat, two-dimensional surfaces. This poses challenges for the two complementary phases of visual exploration – making discoveries in data by looking for relationships, patterns or anomalies – and publication – where the results of an exploration are made available for scientific scrutiny or communication. This is a long-standing problem, and many practical solutions have been developed. Our allskyVR approach provides a workflow for experimentation with commodity virtual reality head-mounted displays. Using the free, open source S2PLOT programming library, and the A-Frame WebVR browser-based framework, we provide a straightforward way to visualise all-sky catalogues on a user-centred, virtual celestial sphere. The allskyVR distribution contains both a quickstart option, complete with a gaze-based menu system, and a fully customisable mode for those who need more control of the immersive experience.