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Informal Science Education Resources
from the home of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope

Video & Immersive Visualizations

Immersive Dome Visualization: Globular Cluster

  • Format 1
  • 1024 x 1024 fisheye dome projection
  • 2145 Frames, numbered 0000 to 2144
  • Frames 0000 to 0100 are static title frames
  • TIFF format image files w/ PackBits or LZW compression


  • Format 2
  • 3200 x 3200 pixel fisheye dome projection
  • 2044 Frames, numbered 0001 to 2044
  • TIFF format image files w/ LZW compression


  • Format 3
  • 3800 x 3800 pixel fisheye dome projection
  • 2044 Frames, numbered 0001 to 2044
  • TIFF format image files w/ LZW compression


To request a visualization or for more information, contact us.


  • Title: Globular Cluster
  • Description:
    This scientific visualization presents a flight to a globular star cluster and a few hundred thousand years of its development. Globular star clusters contain many thousands to millions of stars all orbiting around their common center of gravity. During the flight to and around the globular star cluster, time has been stopped to allow one to examine the structure of the cluster. After arrival, the stars begin their swarming orbits.
  • The visualization uses data from a simulation that followed the orbits of 6144 stars using the special purpose supercomputer GRAPE-4. This small globular star cluster is simulated in its early stages, with the sample of stars drawn from a zero-age main sequence. Hence, there are many more blue stars than would be found in a typical old globular cluster. The star brightnesses are calculated and calibrated to approximate what the human eye would see. The colors are a bit exaggerated in an attempt to compensate for desaturation during dome projection. For context, the globular cluster is placed within a random star field taken from the Yale Bright Star Catalog. The piece of the simulation shown here covers about 122 thousand years of the star cluster’s development. Time passes at a rate of about 2350 years per second, which corresponmds to 98 years per frame at 24 frames per second.
  • Credits: Visualization by Frank Summers, Space Telescope Science Institute, Simulation by Simon Portegies Zwart, Boston University
  • Camera Choreography:
    The camera flies to the globular cluster and circles a quarter turn around it to show off its static structure. When the camera comes to a rest (frame 800 of 2044), the stars begin their orbits and the camera is stationary. Toward the end (frame 1600 of 2044), the camera flies through the cluster to show the intense activity in its central region.
  • The camera choreography was designed for uni-directional seating, where there is a common focus point of the audience (front and center, about 60 degrees up).


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