June 23 – 26 , 2019, Dagstuhl Seminar 19262

Astrographics: Interactive Data-Driven Journeys through Space


Alyssa A. Goodman (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, US)
Charles D. Hansen (University of Utah – Salt Lake City, US)
Daniel Weiskopf (Universität Stuttgart, DE)
Anders Ynnerman (Linköping University, SE)

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The visual language spans across borders of knowledge, experience, age, gender, and culture, which makes it an effective form of expression in scientific data analysis workflows as well as in communication of science to broad audiences. The goal of this small Dagstuhl Seminar is to bring together researchers from computer science with content producers, learning and communication experts, astronomers and astrophysicists, with the mission to shape the emerging field of interactive visualization in space exploration and astronomy - Astrographics.

Until now there has been a clear division between visualization enabling scientific discovery (exploratory visualization) and visual representations used to explain and communicate science to a general audience (explanatory visualization). The seminar is based on the on-going, rapid, convergence, and cross fertilization of exploratory and explanatory interactive data visualization, which is opening new opportunities in visualization research and its applications. The same methodology and data used for scientific discovery can now be used in learning and communication and lead to new levels of user engagement, and at the same time the next generation of exploration tools will benefit immensely from the introduction of concepts from explanatory visualization. A key to this development is the availability of open data from observations and simulations, generated at unprecedented rates, sizes and complexity. The underlying challenges are reaching into the foundation of technical areas such as data access and representations, real-time data analysis, rendering of visual representations and interaction paradigms, but also research areas such as storytelling in interactive media and design for visual learning. Visualization in the space and astronomical sciences is a primary example of a domain in which both exploratory and explanatory visualization has served important, but so far distinct, roles. It is therefore natural for us to choose astrographics as the domain in which we explore the challenges and opportunities that combined exploration and explanation offers. To this end, this seminar will explore the role of visualization in several use cases:

  • Visualization supporting the data analysis process
  • Visualization as a tool for space mission planning and communication
  • Interactive astrographics in planetariums and other immersive environments
  • Educational use of astrographics in schools and at science centers

The seminar will, in the context of the use cases, discuss several applications such as the possibility to bring to life the content, goals, and status of the exploration of Mars in interactive settings, or to describe the critical aspects of current space weather (solar storms) from space agencies’ simulations, or bring the latest observed data, such as the on-going Gaia mission, to the general public. We will focus on the use of immersive environments, such as digital planetariums, display-walls and multi-touch-tables, but also address the possibilities of wide-spread use on commodity platforms.

Motivation text license
  Creative Commons BY 3.0 DE
  Alyssa A. Goodman, Charles D. Hansen, Daniel Weiskopf, and Anders Ynnerman


  • Computer Graphics / Computer Vision
  • Modelling / Simulation
  • Society / Human-computer Interaction


  • Data visualization
  • Immersive environments
  • Astronomy
  • Space exploration
  • Planetariums


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