Visualization Techniques for Data on a 3D Grid

May 24, 2023


Eliot Feibush, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and Princeton University
James Stone, Professor of Astrophysical Sciences

Project Summary

The Athena simulation program computes time-step simulations of astrophysical systems. The software, developed in the Astrophysical Sciences Department at Princeton University, has a 3D magnetohydrodynamic component that runs in large-scale, parallel computations. A Rayleigh-Taylor simulation was run to study the interaction of two gases with different densities in a nebula. The simulation works with data on a 3-D compute grid. The animation shows visualization techniques for exploring data that is f(x,y,z). These general-purpose approaches can be applied to data on a 3D compute grid produced by other applications.

Selected for Art of Science Exhibition

This visualization was selected as part of Princeton's Art of Science's 2023 Digital Exhibition

The Princeton University Art of Science exhibition explores the interplay between science and art. Works are selected for their aesthetic excellence, for their scientific or technical interest, and for their capacity to inspire creativity across disciplines, cultures, languages, and age groups. Art of Science spurs conversation among artists about the nature of art, opens scientists to new ways of “seeing” their own research, and offers a lens through which the general public can engage with both art and science—two fields that for different reasons can feel inaccessible to the non-expert.

Technology/Software Used

The VTK file from Athena was read into the VisIt visualization program.
We applied data selection and slice operators.  Python scripts were developed to generate each frame of the animation.
Frames were combined into a movie using ffmpeg software.
The narration was recorded using the Audacity software and combined with the video in iMovie.