Lunar Surface Relief Reconstruction
Our "Astrographics" research group works on various methods to overcome the difficulties associated with gaining knowledge about faraway astronomical objects using computer vision and computer graphics algorithms. In this project, we have computed plausible 3D surface data for the moon from photographic imagery from the 1960's "Lunar Orbiter" mission.
Humans have been fascinated by astrophysical phenomena since prehistoric times. But while the measurement and image acquisition devices have evolved enormously by now, many restrictions still apply when capturing astronomical data. The most notable limitation is our confined vantage point in the solar system, disallowing us to observe distant objects from different points of view.
In an interdisciplinary German-Mexican research project partially funded by German DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, grants MA 2555/7-1 and 444 MEX-113/25/0-1) and Mexican CONACyT (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, grants 49447 and UNAM DGAPA-PAPIIT IN108506-2), we evaluate different approaches for automatical reconstruction of plausible three-dimensional models of planetary nebulae. The team comprises astrophysicists working on planetary nebula morphology as well as computer scientists experienced in the field of reconstruction and visualization of astrophysical objects.
Radio interferometers sample an image of the sky in the spatial frequency domain. Reconstructing the image from a necessarily incomplete set of samples is an ill-posed inverse problem that we address with methods inspired by the theory of compressed sensing.
During two research visits to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and the University of New Mexico, both gratefully funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, we had the unique opportunity to work together with world-leading experts in radio astronomy synthesis imaging to develop new algorithms for the Very Large Array (VLA) and other radio telescope arrays.