Mapping the Universe : 8802 galaxies

What I did with my Saturday…

This is a video showing a flythrough of 8,802 nearby galaxies. Their positions and images are all accurate, real data. Every object is a plane with a unique texture - no duplicates. I imported everything via Python script. I think I can push this to about 10-12,000 galaxies (although some earlier tests were giving memory problems but I think I can avoid that).

The highly specific figure of 8,802 comes from the sample catalogue I have to work with - I selected only objects from an HI catalogue with well-determined optical counterparts. But I think I was over-zealous, hence I may be able to add 2-3000 more…

Wow! How did you import all those unique planes? Did you use the Images as Planes script and select 8,802 galaxy textures? Awesome work!

Wow, nice job; looks really cool too.

I know almost nothing about our galaxies, except the fact It’s huge and limitless !
I’m quite impressed you manage to create this accurately. If I was asked to do that, I would be still thinking on the way I could achieve this correctly lol.

Besides this, what’s HI catalogues? When you tell you’ve imported all with Pyton script, you mean the coordinates of galaxies ?
Sorry if theses questions sound stupid !

Update ! I found some more galaxies down the back of the sofa, bringing the total to 11,710. Amazingly it still renders in 3 seconds per frame… :

Also see the (very large) still : www.rhysy/net/WIPS/AllData.jpg

Thanks for the comments ! Owldude, I didn’t know about that script - I had my own code lying around from other projects. When I realised what I could do with it I had to try this, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to get any sleep. :stuck_out_tongue:

Kinrove, an HI catalogue is a list of galaxies detected in a neutral hydrogen (HI) gas survey. It’s useful because it contains the redshift (which is basically the same as distance) of each galaxy.
The Python script reads in the position of the galaxies from the catalogue and creates a plane at those coordinates, and applies the appropriate image texture. The catalogue also contains the size of each galaxy (but this is approximate and sometimes very innacurate) which the script uses to scale each plane.

To retrieve the RGB images I used jedit to create a list of URLs which I fed into Image Grabber. It took about 10 hours to download all 11,710 images. It would be fun to see how far I can push this. The difficulty is obtaining a catalogue of galaxies are in the SDSS (so they have nice, easily retrievable images) and optical diameter measurements.

is there a list of galaxies with 3D coordinates and the distance compare to Earth ?

looking nice


Such catalogues do exist - the difficulty is in finding one with RGB images of the galaxies. The SDSS is by far the easiest source to obtain these.

I’m about done with this for now - check the finished projects section !