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Visualization of Astronomical Nebulae via Distributed Multi-GPU Compressed Sensing Tomography

IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 18(12), pp. 2188-2197, 2012.

S. Wenger1, M. Ament2, S. Guthe1, D. Lorenz3, A. Tillmann4, D. Weiskopf2, M. Magnor1

1 Institut für Computergraphik, TU Braunschweig, Germany,
2
VISUS, University of Stuttgart, Germany,
3 Institute for Analysis and Algebra, TU Braunschweig, Germany,
4 Research Group Optimization, TU Darmstadt, Germany.


Acknowledgments

This work was partially funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) as part of DFG projects MA 2555/7–1 and WE 2836/2–1 (“Astrographik”) as well as LO 1436/3–1 and PF 709/1–1 (“Sparse Exact and Approximate Recovery”).


Abstract

The 3D visualization of astronomical nebulae is a challenging problem since only a single 2D projection is observable from our fixed vantage point on Earth. We attempt to generate plausible and realistic looking volumetric visualizations via a tomographic approach that exploits the spherical or axial  symmetry prevalent in some relevant types of nebulae. Different types of symmetry can be implemented by using different randomized distributions of virtual cameras. Our approach is based on an iterative compressed sensing reconstruction algorithm that we extend with support for position-dependent volumetric regularization and linear equality constraints. We present a distributed multi-GPU implementation that is capable of reconstructing high-resolution datasets from arbitrary projections. Its robustness and scalability are demonstrated for astronomical imagery from the Hubble Space  Telescope. The resulting volumetric data is visualized using direct volume rendering. Compared to previous approaches, our method preserves a much higher amount of detail and visual variety in the 3D visualization, especially for objects with only approximate symmetry.


The Minkowski Butterfly Nebula

Interactive volume visualization of the reconstructed nebula M2-9.

Additional media files of M2-9:

Additional information about M2-9:


The Ant Nebula

Interactive volume visualization of the reconstructed nebula MZ 3.

Additional media files of MZ 3:

Additional information about MZ 3:


The Red Rectangle Nebula

Interactive volume visualization of the reconstructed nebula HD 44179.

Additional media files of HD 44179:

Additional information about HD 44179:


The Saturn Nebula

Interactive volume visualization of the reconstructed nebula NGC 7009.

Additional media files of NGC 7009:

Additional information about NGC 7009:


The Calabash Nebula

Interactive volume visualization of the reconstructed nebula OH 231.84 +4.22.

Additional media files of OH 231.84 +4.22:

Additional information about OH 231.84 +4.22:


The Cat's Eye Nebula

Interactive volume visualization of the reconstructed nebula NGC 6543.

Additional media files of NGC 6543:

Additional information about NGC 6543:


Planetary Nebula NGC 6826

Interactive volume visualization of the reconstructed nebula NGC 6826.

Additional media files of NGC 6826:

Additional information about NGC 6826:


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