The Past, Present and Future of Visualization in Astronomy

Presentation Date: 

Monday, October 26, 2020


zoom version of Salt Lake City, Utah

Presentation Slides: 

ieeevis-Past-Present-Future-of-Visualization-Sampe-SlideNote: This talk was accompanied by a special listing of "links and pointers," at

ABSTRACT: Astronomers have been visually representing their ideas and observations throughout human history. Today, astronomers' visualization challenges extend to some of the largest, most diverse, and high-dimensional data sets in science, and their largely open-source tools are being optimized to accelerate the pace of discovery. In this talk, I will begin with a very short history of astronomy visualization, highlighting the work of Ptolemy and Galileo. Then, I’ll focus on how tools and libraries used by today’s astronomers (including astropy, WorldWide Telescope, yt, glue, OpenSpace, the Jupyter ecosystem, and more) are evolving into a flexible, modular, system of systems that allows experts and novices alike to carry out exploratory and explanatory data visualization. I will conclude with thoughts on the future, with particular focus on how new generations of astronomers may be trained to think about data science, visualization, astrophysics, education, and outreach simultaneously, using systems flexible enough to facilitate a seamless spectrum connecting basic education to cutting-edge research.