Flying across Galaxy Clusters with Google Earth: Deep Color Images from SDSS

Color images of distant, faint galaxies interesting to astronomers because the color enables them to estimate the redshift, a key astrophysical parameter in understanding how galaxies are organized in the Universe.  Recently, Jiangang Hao and Jim Annis of Fermilab co-added 3 million full-color images from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, using an image stacking and averaging process commonly used by astronomers to improve the quality of their images.  The figure below shows the impact of this co-adding technique.

Galaxy images before (left) and after co-adding. Image courtesy of Jiangang Hao.

Galaxy images before (left) and after co-adding. Image courtesy of Jiangang Hao.

Then they converted the images to a file format that can be uploaded and visualized in the Google Sky tool, which can be used to pan and zoom across the sky. You can see this in action in the animation below.

Hao and Annis’ images are in fact much sharper than those ordinarily accessible in Google Sky, which has generally degraded images to reduce load times.

Read about how Hao and Annis produced these files for consumption by Google Sky.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in astroinformatics, Astronomy, astronomy surveys, galaxies, SDSS, telescopes, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Flying across Galaxy Clusters with Google Earth: Deep Color Images from SDSS

  1. Hi Bruce,

    I admit that when I saw this a few months ago I was very intrigued. However,while the underlying data is really nice and the authors have done a good job at putting it all together, the resulting kmz files suffer from performance issues and there are also many artifact of the display that they did not properly take into account during the google “regionation” process.

    A better approach, in my humble opinion, would have been to use the googlesky browser plugin combined with javascript and a database to make the whole experience more responsive and visually pleasing.
    I did this, oddly enough one afternoon for a sample of clusters almost a year ago for my own research: http://sky.stsci.edu/bcg/
    It’s not optimal or incredibly optimized but it did serve the purpose.
    Under the hood: C#.NET, MS SQL Server, Javascript + GoogleSky Plugin.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s