The Solar Journey Home Page

    NASA Grant number NAG5-8163

    AISRP (Applied Information Systems Research Program)

Project Reports, Presentations, and Related Information:

The Solar Journey Project

  • Overview: This generic presentation contains a general overview of the current accomplishments and tasks (PDF) of the Solar Journey project.
  • This presentation entitled "Interstellar and Interplanetary Matter" (2.4Mb, Windows XP PowerPoint) was given by P.C. Frisch at the STScI Astrobiology Symposium, May 2002, in Baltimore, MD.
  • "Modeling Features of the Local Bubble and Galactic Environment of the Sun" (PDF) was presented in the poster session at the AAS 2002 Meeting, January 2002, in Washington, DC.

  • Astronomy Picture of the Day selections related to the Solar Journey Project

  • Satellites in our Sky: APOD 2003 July 14. Demonstration of user interaction with the "Earthday" graphics program in the form of a brief animation that shows a large portion of the Earth's satellites at a selected time, and then zooms in for a closeup of the International Space station (ISS).
  • The Sun's Heliosphere and Heliopause: APOD 2002 June 24. Image based on excerpt from the Heliosphere animation described below, which is part of this project.
  • The Local Interstellar Cloud: APOD 2000 April 11.
  • The Local Bubble and the Galactic Neighborhood: APOD 2000 April 12.
  • The last two APOD selections are taken from the article The Galactic Environment of the Sun,by P.C. Frisch, in American Scientist, January-February, Volume 88, No. 1, 2000. This review article covers many fundamental issues closely related to this project.

  • Animations produced for the Solar Journey Project

    The Sun's interaction with its surrounding material

    In this still image from the computer animation shown at the Astrobiology Symposium and linked below, we see the bowshock, heliopause and termination shock of the heliosphere, with the Orion constellation peeking through the tail of the heliosphere. The heliosphere is the solar wind's "bubble," elongated because both the Sun and surrounding interstellar cloud move through our local galactic neighborhood. (Heliosphere geometric model courtesy of Timur Linde, University of Chicago.)

    The image at the left appeared as the Astronomy Picture of the Day, APOD 2002 June 24, and was used as an illustration in a recent astronomy news article in Science Magazine, page 2005 of Vol. 300, 27 June 2003. (The image credit is very obscure, in tiny vertically-aligned print along the spine of page 2005.)

    The narrated Heliosphere animation movie and the Heliosphere animation without sound were developed to accompany the AstroBiology Symposium presentation. For additional details, see the displayable Technical Description in PDF or in printable postscript.
    Note: these QuickTime .mov files are 192MB and 181MB long, respectively. Some users may need to increase their disk cache size.

    Satellites in our Sky (GMT June 24th 2003 2:21pm).

    We have over a thousand satellites flying through the sky over our heads; this image is from a brief animation representing a user's interaction with our Earthday graphics program. The animation shows a large portion of the satellites at a selected time, and then zooms in for a closeup of the International Space station (ISS). We can clearly see the ring structure of geo-stationary (deep-space) satellites rotating with the Earth, located 38,500km above the Earth's surface (about 6 times the radius of the Earth). The entire animation appeared as the Astronomy Picture of the Day on 14 July 2003. See APOD 2003 July 14.

    The "Cosmic Clock" Visualization of the Universe

    Observing the Universe using the finite speed of light to place measured objects in their correct temporal context.
    The Cosmic Bloom (29.6MB) excerpt from the movie is available here; it seems to play OK on PC's with QuickTime, but has troubles on some other platforms.
    This 3:35 minute animation contains a visualization of the entire Universe from three different points of view: the time spectrum of observable photon radiation arriving at the earth, the constant-time shells of light sources represented in "comoving coordinates " (as though the Universe had always been the size it is today), and in "physical coordinates" (which incorporate the Hubble expansion since the "Great Flash", when the Universe was about 300,000 years old). This film was one of a select few chosen for showing at the Siggraph 2000 Electronic Theater in July 2000, and appears in Siggraph Video Review 134, Scene 5 (2000). To obtain a copy, please use the Siggraph Video Review Order Form.

    Photorealistic Star Rendering

    Seeing the Stars.
    An example of our work on star rendering may be found in this QuickTime movie: panning across the galactic plane (158MB), with the Milky Way image of Axel Mellinger in the background. Compare the appearance of the simulated stars to real images such as Akira Fujii's Orion.

    AISRP Workshop Reports

    AISRP 2001 workshop presentation, October 2001, Baltimore, MD.

    AISRP 2000 workshop presentation, September 2000, Boulder, CO.

    AISRP 1999 workshop presentation, September 1999, Boulder, CO.

    Project Investigators
    Andrew J. Hanson
    Lindley Hall 215
    Indiana University
    Bloomington, IN 47405
    Office (Voice Mail) (812) 855-5855, FAX (812) 855-4829,
    My Web page:

    Priscilla C. Frisch
    Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
    University of Chicago
    5640 South Ellis Avenue
    Chicago, Illinois 60637 USA
    Phone: 773/702-0181
    Fax: 773/702-8212
    My Web Page: .
    My recent preprints are also available on astro-ph server:

    Donald York
    Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
    University of Chicago
    5640 South Ellis Avenue
    Chicago, Illinois 60637 USA
    Phone: 773-702-8930

    Public Outreach Target: Adler Planetarium, City of Chicago

    A custom version of the Heliosphere animation is installed in Elumens kiosks at the Adler Planeterium, with collaboration from Douglas Roberts and the planetarium staff.
    Collaborators at the Adler Planetarium include: Lucy Fortson, Douglas Roberts, and Larry Ciupik.

    Project collaborators and data resources:

    University of Chicago: Timur Linde: Heliosphere modeling.
    University of Delaware: Gary Zank and Hans Mueller: Heliopause data.
    University of California, Berkeley: Carl Heiles: Merged Northern and Southern Hemisphere HI spectral data.

    Data Sources used in animations and simulations:

    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: iUniverse project
    Hubble Space Telescope: Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI/NASA)
    ROSAT Mission: Max-Planck-Institut - Extraterrestrial Physics
    408Mhz Radio Mission: Max-Planck-Institut - Radioastronomy
    IRAS, COBE, and EGRET missions
    WHAM, SHASSA, and VTSS projects
    APOD web site
    Hipparcos mission

    Images and models used in animations and simulations:

    Milky Way Image: courtesy Axel Mellinger
    SN1987A animation: NASA STScI
    LMC/SMC/Nebulae: (c) Anglo-Australian Observatory/Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, photos courtesy David Malin
    IMAGE-FUV aurora movies provided by H.U. Frey and S.B. Mende, UC Berkeley
    Leiden 21-cm data: "Atlas of Galactic Neutral Hydrogen" by Dap Hartmann and W.B. Burton Cambridge University Press, 1997.
    Heliosphere models: Timur Linde, University of Chicago
    Multispectral composites: Douglas Finkbeiner
    Special thanks to Stuart Levy, NCSA

    Maintained by Andrew J. Hanson: