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I can't find sky software that depicts the visible sky from the ground in 3D

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#1 wilddouglascounty

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Posted Yesterday, 08:56 AM

      Rather than zooming around the solar system and universe, I would like to be able to visualize the "volume" of the visible night sky (i.e. roughly down to the 6th magnitude) from the ground. I have been unable to find any sky simulation program that will take the parallax of the visible stars and use it to create a volumetric depiction of what I can see when I walk outside.

 

      I can imagine that such a program would create a sense of depth by greatly heightening the parallax effect and then the viewer could bring it into a volumetric appreciation of that part of the sky by clicking on a spot in, for instance, Orion and "wiggling" it back and forth so that there is a foreshortening of the stars depending on their distance, much as a nearby tree moves more than one further away and behind it.

 

      I think it would be fantastic to be able to do that with the night sky in a different type of spatial appreciation than flying in an imaginary rocket around the universe, which many software programs are designed to do. Flying around is wonderful but to depict the sky that you can walk outside and see as having volume would be a truly new way to view the sky that could be as big of a transformation of what you see as learning the constellations. If you know of any software that accomplishes this, please let me know about it, and if it doesn't yet exist, I wonder who could take the parallax of visible stars and create such a program?



#2 DLuders

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Posted Yesterday, 09:04 AM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights!  smile.gif    I doubt such a software program exists, because it would be HUGE to incorporate all the stars visible from Earth down to 6th Magnitude.  Stellarium  has a default catalog of 600,000 stars, with an extra catalog of 177 million stars.  Do you have a supercomputer?  



#3 scopewizard

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Posted Yesterday, 09:16 AM

In the real world view your eyes can only see a little more than one arcmin change. Our solar objects, if you travel on the ground, will displace compare to background stars but not stars. If you could travel between the Sun and Pluto, you would no visually see any stars changes. The parallax would still be arcsec to sub-arcsec.


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#4 Simcal

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Posted Yesterday, 09:19 AM

I'm not sure there would be any sense of depth, as the parallax motion of the stars as you move your vantage point would be exceptionally small if any at all.  You would need to mathematically reduce their distance to be nearer, for a sense of 3-d parallax to take effect.  I think this is why they use the rocket scenario.. it gives a much larger vantage point change and hence a larger parallax.

 

Now, an immersive sky chart is another thing, and that would be neat with 3-D glasses.  I think it would also be relatively easy given the number of sky chart phone apps which are location and orientation aware.. it just needing a bigger screen with a spherical projection.


Edited by Simcal, Yesterday, 09:19 AM.


#5 wilddouglascounty

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Posted Yesterday, 10:00 AM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights!  smile.gif    I doubt such a software program exists, because it would be HUGE to incorporate all the stars visible from Earth down to 6th Magnitude.  Stellarium  has a default catalog of 600,000 stars, with an extra catalog of 177 million stars.  Do you have a supercomputer?  

That is why I am only interested in using the visual night sky, which is only 6,000 or so of the stars, i.e. down to the 6th magnitude, which, not coincidentally also have the largest parallax, which could be turbocharged to actually be visually detectable by the "wiggling" process that I described above. In other words, you should have no trouble depicting the depth of field of the just the visible stars, I would think.



#6 wilddouglascounty

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Posted Yesterday, 10:12 AM

I'm not sure there would be any sense of depth, as the parallax motion of the stars as you move your vantage point would be exceptionally small if any at all.  You would need to mathematically reduce their distance to be nearer, for a sense of 3-d parallax to take effect.  I think this is why they use the rocket scenario.. it gives a much larger vantage point change and hence a larger parallax.

 

Now, an immersive sky chart is another thing, and that would be neat with 3-D glasses.  I think it would also be relatively easy given the number of sky chart phone apps which are location and orientation aware.. it just needing a bigger screen with a spherical projection.

You are correct that the miniscule differences in parallax would have to be turbocharged to be detectable, but the reason I want to be able to do it without travelling through space is that I want to perceive the stars as I see them from the ground, that 2 dimensional space projected onto the sphere of the night sky, as having real volume.  To be able to do so to the constellations that are almost completely fixed configurations for the length of our lives would be a way to inform the night sky which otherwise we just continue to see as a bunch of cultural projections that are interesting relicts of cultures and times long past. Adding a way to depict a 3D volume to the constellations could transform the way we look at the night sky.

 

So by a spherical immersive projection are you suggesting virtual 3D goggles that could provide this type of 3D depth to the visual star field?  Are you aware of any such program? 



#7 wilddouglascounty

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Posted Yesterday, 10:28 AM

In the real world view your eyes can only see a little more than one arcmin change. Our solar objects, if you travel on the ground, will displace compare to background stars but not stars. If you could travel between the Sun and Pluto, you would no visually see any stars changes. The parallax would still be arcsec to sub-arcsec.

Totally agree. This is why for such a 3D depiction the parallax would have to be systematically "turbocharged" in order to make it perceptible. Not sure what exponential increase of parallax it would take to make it that, for instance, when looking at the pointer stars in the Big Dipper, Dubhe is much further away than Merak. In my dream software, I could go to and click on the Big Dipper, "wiggle" that part of the sky so that Merak would move more than Dubhe, like the chair in front of a window moves more than the window moves when you move you head while looking at both.

 

This is not possible with any existing software that I'm aware of, but it doesn't seem like it would be too hard to do for someone with the software skills out there and the parallax data we have for all 6,000 stars that are visible to the naked eye.  And how cool would it be to see the constellations floating mostly in the space between the Earth and the rest of the Milky Way?



#8 scopewizard

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Posted Yesterday, 10:58 AM

I understand the chair and the window analogy. Try this, put the chair at 1000 miles and the window at 100000 miles and move your head. I bet they will not move. The data for these stars would have to change to extreme number for the position to match what you are asking. It would turn the astronomy software into a video game with no valuable or realistic data.



#9 wilddouglascounty

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Posted Yesterday, 11:46 AM

I understand the chair and the window analogy. Try this, put the chair at 1000 miles and the window at 100000 miles and move your head. I bet they will not move. The data for these stars would have to change to extreme number for the position to match what you are asking. It would turn the astronomy software into a video game with no valuable or realistic data.

The description of the chair and the window you provide is a description of the parallax values as they currently exist without "turbocharging" those values. And by the term "turbocharging" I mean enhancing the values systematically so that the basic spatial orientations are retained in the same way that you can take a 3D landscape such as a lidar image of the land and vertically enhance that landscape in order to bring out the terrain to better visualize it.  This procedure does not distort its realism in important ways so it is still a useful way to get a better grasp of that terrain and I see no reason why treating the sky in the same manner could also retain its realism.  I just don't have the programming chops or the conversion skills to do it myself--perhaps it might entail using logarithmic compression somehow to enhance the distinctions enough--I don't know.  I hope this helps you better understand what I'm driving at.



#10 AaronF

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Posted Yesterday, 11:46 AM

I'm not sure if this is exactly what you want, but try Digital Universe.



#11 wilddouglascounty

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Posted Yesterday, 11:52 AM

I'm not sure if this is exactly what you want, but try Digital Universe.

Ha!  Funny you brought up Digital Universe, because earlier this week I asked the same question to them as I have in these forums! While they don't have the capacity that I'm looking for, they sure have the skillset to be able to accomplish what I'm looking for, at least it sure looks like it.  I haven't heard back from them yet, and don't know if I will, but thanks so much for bringing them up.  In the meantime, I'm still looking and asking...


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#12 lambermo

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Posted Today, 06:08 AM

Since version 0.19.3 Stellarium corrects for parallax [1]. This was requested in [2] and implemented in [3].

I count parallax info for 117703 stars in hip_plx_err.dat .

 

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[1] http://stellarium.or...ium-0.19.3.html

[2] https://github.com/S...arium/issues/87

[3] https://github.com/S...9211d63ae04d4ab



#13 wilddouglascounty

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Posted Today, 09:00 AM

So the default star data used in versions since 0.19.3 have the improved parallax imports, correct?  Now since I'm only interested in the approximately 9,000 visible/mag. 6.5 or brighter stars, I know I can make just these stars visible, but how to systematically increase the parallax for these stars to where the parallax becomes visible when those stars are displayed? When "flying" into a given space, the nearest stars go by first, showing their relative distance from the sun, and this is accomplished by using their parallax values, I am sure. But how to translate those spatial distances to being perceptible from the ground? My idea would be if the parallax were sufficiently magnified, you could detect the relative position by picking a spot (from the ground) in the sky using a cursor, then "wiggling" the image from that point of orientation so that the relative positions of the stars in that field are revealed. I just don't know how to do this.

 

Since version 0.19.3 Stellarium corrects for parallax [1]. This was requested in [2] and implemented in [3].

I count parallax info for 117703 stars in hip_plx_err.dat .

 

-- Hans

 

[1] http://stellarium.or...ium-0.19.3.html

[2] https://github.com/S...arium/issues/87

[3] https://github.com/S...9211d63ae04d4ab

 



#14 gzotti

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Posted Today, 12:23 PM

Sorry to disappoint, but Stellarium only provides numerical data for parallax error. Stars are plotted on the celestial sphere in infinity, there is no annual parallax effect where a star would run around mean positions.

 

You would have to create a geometrical model of your world that does not have a celestial sphere but where stars would be plotted very close - you could try to replace light-years of distance by metres to see a real effect. But you would have to reduce star diameters. Those other programs let you fly in high multiples of light speed, but the 3D effect would likely be the same.


Edited by gzotti, Today, 03:51 PM.



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