Presentation #541.11 in the session “Computational Augmentation to Surveys and Science Programs”.
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced obstacles to many areas of astronomical research, especially topics requiring access to shared facilities and driven by interaction between scientists to interpret complex multi-dimensional data. We have undertaken the accelerated production of a Virtual Reality (VR) data visualization platform named Collaborative Astronomy VR that leverages recent advancements in low cost, high-powered consumer hardware and cloud-based multi-user server architecture. The platform is appropriate to visualize, explore, and collaborate with data made from observations and simulations of astronomical objects and phenomena. We present initial results using this platform to represent and analyze multi-dimensional data of four supernova remnants located in the Milky Way and Magellanic Clouds: Cassiopeia A, the Crab, 1E0102.2-7219, and N132D. The collaborative VR platform allows users to exploit on-the-fly scaling, rotation, and changing of perspective to dramatically accelerate their comprehension of comparative supernova morphology in three dimensions. The flexible data ingestion pipeline will support multi-dimensional formats common to astronomical data, and will have clean up + optimization procedures to ensure data fidelity and fluid visualizations. Building this platform will globally connect distant individuals and provide virtual environments where they can actively engage with complex data and representations. Furthermore, the platform has natural applications in diverse instructional settings and will be used to educate and inspire students about stellar evolution and the general field of multi-messenger astronomy.