Astronomical nebula in 3-D

Researchers are developing a new method for 3D reconstruction

3D reconstruction of an astronomical nebula TU Braunschweig
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Braunschweig computer scientists have collaborated with Mexican astronomers to develop a computer program that depicts astronomical nebulae as three-dimensional, interactive models. The scientists want to get such important information about their plastic form.

The stars have always fascinated us. But what happens at the end of her life? Some of them leave a glowing gas cloud, an astronomical fog. In keeping with the Year of Astronomy 2009, we can marvel at impressive images of such nebulae in many magazines and magazines, but concrete information about their spatial structure was missing so far. For we always see astronomical nebulae from the earth only from one perspective.

Exact fog model

A new computer program of the Institute for Computer Graphics of the Technical University (TU) Braunschweig can use photos to create a physically plausible 3D model of astronomical nebulae. The big advantage of the new development: The program only takes a few seconds to create an interactive model that allows the user to fly in or around them in real time.

The program first assumes that the fog is symmetrical. With the help of this assumption, the original image is reproduced three-dimensionally. However, astronomical nebulae are not exactly mirror-like in reality, but with the new method, the created 3D model can be changed individually. This allows the fog model to be automatically adapted to photos exactly.

Realistic space walks

According to the researchers, this development is interesting for planetariums, for example. Realistic space walks can be presented to visitors. A collaboration of scientists with the Wolfsburg Planetarium is already planned. But even in astronomical research, the method is already used to better understand the processes in astronomical nebulae. display

The Braunschweig researcher Stephan Wenger and the Mexican scientist Juan Aja Fernández from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México presented their development in February 2009 at the International Conference on Computer Graphics and Visualization and Computer Vision.

(idw - Technische Universität Braunschweig, 06.03.2009 - DLO)