Previous abstract Next abstract

Session 5 - Education.
Display session, Monday, January 13
Metropolitan Ballroom,

[5.17] A Video Tour through the Pisces-Perseus Supercluster

M. D. Schwartz (U. Pennsylvania), D. Dale (Cornell)

A short, animated video presents a flight through the Pisces-Perseus Supercluster of galaxies. This educational video is designed to elucidate visually some of the common misconceptions about astronomy. For example, while the galaxies seem like stars from far away, closer examination reveales that they are in fact composed of stars. And although someone might suspect that the distribution of visible matter in the universe is uniform, in fact it is not. This illustrates visually how complicated and diverse the universe is in composition.

The video will be part of "Galaxies in the Universe", one of the exhibits in the new Arecibo Observatory Visitor and Educational Facility in Puerto Rico, which opens this spring. By pushing a button, visitors will be able to see both how the large-scale distribution of visible matter forms sheets and voids and how galaxies have three-dimensional structure.

The computer simulation begins by flying around the distribution of about 5000 galaxies, represented by points, and continues by flying through the supercluster. The "virtual" spaceship approaches groups of galaxies where various morphological types are visible, using a realistic distribution of morphologies. As it nears the individual galaxies, more detail is seen. The galaxies themselves are three-dimensional and their colors approximate the integrated colors of the actual morphological types. In total, there are eight different galaxy types represented, including elliptical, spiral and irregular galaxies. The three-dimensional positions of the galaxies in space have been derived from 21 cm spectra taken by Riccardo Giovanelli, Martha Haynes and their associates.

Program listing for Monday