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Unveiling Gaseous Galactic Ecosystems with CosmoVis

Presentation #318.07 in the session Computation, Data Handling, Image Analysis II.

Published onJun 29, 2022
Unveiling Gaseous Galactic Ecosystems with CosmoVis

We present CosmoVis, a new open-source, web-based astrophysical data visualization tool, which enables interactive analysis of state-of-the-art hydrodynamical cosmological simulations. Through its novel volume rendering schemes and intuitive data selection/filtering, CosmoVis enables astrophysicists and citizen scientists to intuitively explore in detail the emergent gas, dark matter, stars, and galaxies in simulation datasets, which are often very large in size, complex in structure, and require considerable processing of raw data into useful information for analysis. CosmoVis also allows users to generate virtual skewers through a given volume to extract synthetic spectra and detailed gas properties such as temperature and density along the sightline, thereby enabling direct comparisons with quasar absorption line observations. In addition, CosmoVis facilitates the identification and analysis of galaxies by various physical properties. The rich visual details coupled with the highly interactive nature of the software allows researchers and non-researchers to obtain unprecedented views into the environments of galaxies and the large-scale structure of the universe at various epochs. We highlight a science use case to demonstrate the potential of CosmoVis.

Nearby and large-scale gaseous surroundings of galaxies: We visually identify gas structures, e.g., shells of high entropy and filaments with high temperatures, to determine how the galactic baryon cycle dictates the morphology of gas in the circumgalactic medium (CGM) and intergalactic medium (IGM). We characterize the distribution of physical properties of the gas, including temperature, density, and entropy, as functions of galactic properties such as stellar mass, halo mass, and star formation rate. These connections between galaxies and their gaseous environments will help us reveal 1) how the thermodynamics of gas at small and large galactocentric scales control galactic properties, and 2) the nature of the warmer and cooler phases of the CGM and IGM. Furthermore, these analyses will yield testable predictions for absorption and emission line observations which are expected to increase dramatically with the advent of 30m class telescopes and the proposed future LUVOIR telescope.

CosmoVis, the product of an interdisciplinary collaboration of experts in computational media, data visualization, and astrophysics, is a revolutionary path forward in analyzing astrophysical simulation datasets.


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