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Visualizing the Dynamic Milky Way for Science and Education

Presentation #523.04 in the session “Education and Public Outreach I: Citizen Science, Visualizations, and Public Engagement”.

Published onJan 11, 2021
Visualizing the Dynamic Milky Way for Science and Education

The European space agency’s second catalog of the Gaia mission is revolutionizing astronomy. Arguably all scientific questions can benefit from the nearly 1.4 billion parallaxes and proper motions, over 7 million radial velocities, photometric data in Gaia’s three bands (G, R, and B), variability information, and effective temperatures for a subset of objects. The Gaia results provide a unique opportunity for astronomers, data visualizers, and educators. Stellar positions and velocities enable us to map the Milky Way and examine the dynamics of stellar streams, co-moving companions, hypervelocity stars, nearby moving groups, and solar system encounters. From a visualization perspective, real time rendering of Gaia data is a challenge. In this presentation, I will show the results of our visualization efforts with the Gaia catalog at the American Museum of Natural History. The visuals generated for this talk isolate scientifically rich data and stories, which can lead to scientific discovery and will illuminate Gaia data for students, teachers and the general public.

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