NCSA visualizations in new IMAX film

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The team at NCSA’s Advanced Visualization Laboratory (where I spent a really fun summer doing some post-master’s course work under Polly Baker) has added another movie credit to their CV. This time the team has been hard at work visualizing parts of our universe for the film Hubble 3D

Hubble 3D movie posterHigh-resolution 3D visualizations of galaxies, nebulae and newborn stars created at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) take viewers on an unprecedented voyage of discovery into the wonders of the universe in Hubble 3D, a 43-minute IMAX 3D documentary narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio. The film offers an inspiring and unique look into the Hubble Space Telescope’s legacy and highlights its profound impact on the way we view the universe and ourselves.

I’ll bet this was a fun, and really high stress, project to work on

The team at NCSA—including Robert Patterson, Stuart Levy, Alex Betts, Matthew Hall, and AJ Christensen—worked for six months on their contributions to Hubble 3D, using their VirtualDirector software and a state-of-the-art 4k resolution digital 3D display to view the work in progress and interactively choreograph shots with Myers and STScI astrophysicist Frank Summers.

One sequence animated by the AVL team takes viewers on a flight from the Milky Way galaxy, past our nearest neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy, and into the Virgo Cluster, a group of more than 1,000 galaxies in the constellation Virgo. The voyage ends with a view of Messier 87, also called Virgo A, a giant, radio-loud elliptical galaxy located about 55 million light years from home that is famous for the black hole-powered jet of matter streaming from its center. The scientific data for the landmarks on this faster-than-the-speed of light voyage were provided by the STScI research team led by Summers.

More about the movie in the press release and at the movie site, links above.