Parallel Visualization of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey DR6

Domonkos,B., Ralovich,K.

The new generation astronomy digital archives cover large area of the sky at fine resolution in many wavelengths from ultraviolet through optical and infrared. For instance, one of these projects the Sloan Digital Sky Survey is creating a detailed catalog covering more than a quarter of the sky with images measured with five different filters. The size of the data set can be measured in terabytes. These archives enable astronomers to explore the data for their research. However, virtually walking through these huge data sets also enables to visualize the beauty of the Universe and raises problems which can be interesting for people related to computer graphics. In this paper we present a technique for rendering large-scale scattered astrophysical data that has wide-spectrum photometric property. Our method performs sort-last parallel particle rendering using hierarchical, static data distribution; and its performance scales up linearly by increasing the number of the rendering nodes. It also enables setting the color matching function in the rendering phase and as well as altering the distance calculation formulae that calculates spatial coordinates from the redshift - all interactively.