Computer Graphics
TU Braunschweig

Fast Image-Based Modeling of Astronomical Nebulae

Fast Image-Based Modeling of Astronomical Nebulae

Astronomical nebulae are among the most complex and visually appealing phenomena known outside the bounds of the Solar System. However, our fixed vantage point on Earth limits us to a single known view of these objects, and their intricate volumetric structure cannot be recovered directly. Recent approaches to reconstructing a volumetric 3D model use the approximate symmetry inherent to many nebulae, but require several hours of computation time on large multi-GPU clusters. We present a novel reconstruction algorithm based on group sparsity that reaches or even exceeds the quality of prior results while taking only a fraction of the time on a conventional desktop PC, thereby enabling end users in planetariums or educational facilities to produce high-quality content without expensive hardware or manual modeling. In principle, our approach can be generalized to other transparent phenomena with arbitrary types of user-specified symmetries.

Volume data sets

You may download these models for non-commercial use free of charge, provided that you credit the authors by citing the above publication. Additional license restrictions for the original images by NASA/STScI/ESA and NOAO/AURA/NSF may apply. For commercial use, please contact us.

HD 44179
M 2-9
Mz 3
NGC 6302
NGC 6543
NGC 7009
OH 231
IC 418



Author(s):Stephan Wenger, Dirk Lorenz, Marcus Magnor
Published:October 2013
Journal:Computer Graphics Forum (Proc. of Pacific Graphics PG) Vol. 32
Presented at:Pacific Graphics
Project(s): Astrophysical Modeling and Visualization 

  title = {Fast Image-Based Modeling of Astronomical Nebulae},
  author = {Wenger, Stephan and Lorenz, Dirk and Magnor, Marcus},
  journal = {Computer Graphics Forum (Proc. of Pacific Graphics {PG})},
  volume = {32},
  number = {7},
  pages = {93--100},
  month = {Oct},
  year = {2013}