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 IU Trident Indiana University

Visualizations of Globular Star Clusters

Project Lead: David Reagan, Advanced Visualization Lab, Research Technologies, Indiana University

The Advanced Visualization Lab worked with IU Department of Astronomy professor Enrico Vesperini to create visualizations of globular star cluster formation and dynamical evolution. 

The results of supercomputer simulations can be difficult to express to general audiences, and even to technical audiences without expertise in a particular field. Using videos created with the AVL, Dr. Vesperini was able to demonstrate his research to the public at the dedication of IU’s new supercomputer, Big Red II. Dr. Vesperini will continue to use the workflow developed for this project to create visualizations to aid his research and exhibit at conferences and events.

Dr. Vesperini uses IU’s supercomputers to simulate the formation and dynamical evolution of globular star clusters. The AVL utilized the open-source application ParaView to create visual representations of three such simulations. The first shows the gravitational collapse of a globular cluster. The second follows the evolution of two stellar populations in a globular cluster. The third shows the evolution of a rotating stellar system with a central toroidal (or donut-shaped) structure. By developing a workflow to take these simulations from text files to high definition videos, the AVL has empowered Dr. Vesperini to create his own visualizations in the future. 

NSF GSS Codes:
Primary Field: Astronomy (201) - Astrophysics
Secondary Field: Computer Science (401) - Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications