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Synthetic Sky Images

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In Minnesota there is ample opportunity to think about what one might observe if the skies were clear. In the last few years during cloudy or excessively cold or hot nights, I devised a way to make visual simulations that incorporated principles of perception and color. Here are a few from my "Zodiac series".

Taurus. Includes Orion and the Pleides.

Gemini. Starring Castor and Pollux.

Leo. A favorite (my sign).

Scorpius. A constellation that actually looks like its name.

Capricornus. A late summer friend.

These images are also available in stereo! It's not for everyone, but give it a try.


About these skymaps

The scenes depicted in the pictures above are purely artificial,their renderings entirely from algorithms and data. The algorithms are based on reproduction principles and human visual perception. The intent is not to portray how the night sky actually looks to us, but rather to present an extended range of information about the stars visually. The stars are all real, their positions and brightness shown according to their actual recorded values down to magnitude 10 (the entire range is not visible in these low resolution versions however). The size and brightness are based on characteristics of human vision and high resolution displays. The color is determined by the stars' spectrum and is shown as they might be seen with normal color vision, not the monochromatic view that we are restricted to at low light levels.

A technical paper, The Colors of the Stars, presented at the Sixth Color Imaging Conference (1998) (see papers and presentations), describes the basic principles behind these images.



Copyright 1999-Apr-27

Thor Olson