The Galactic center is an important target for high energy astrophysics, as exemplified by over 5Ms of Chandra observing time. Our prior work synthesized the thermal X-ray emission from hydrodynamic simulations of 25 Wolf-Rayet stars and their winds orbiting within a parsec of Sgr A*, and well matched the total flux and spectral shape of Chandra XVP data in a 2”-5” ring around the SMBH. These simulations also pair well with immersive visualizations; our 360-degree video of column density from Sgr A*’s perspective, powered by a Chandra/NASA press release, has a combined YouTube ( https://youtu.be/YKzxmeABbkU ) and Facebook tally of 1.3 million views. Though 360-degree videos allow the viewer to look over all 4pi sr, they unfortunately fix the viewing location since the movie frames are pre-rendered. Therefore, we are now taking the next step by putting the hydro simulations into virtual reality (VR) so the user has complete control of their location and viewing direction. Though this is naturally a more computationally expensive process, a phone-based VR headset can handle the simultaneous column density and X-ray emissivity calculation for 100K gas cells from a single snapshot as the user traverses the simulation domain in real time, while mimicking the VR experience via a laptop can accommodate a full 2M-particle snapshot with minor lag. (In the future, we aim for room-scale VR with a high-GPU computer to add the time evolution of the simulation as well.) This presentation will show the VR of our latest hydro simulations of the Galactic center, which also incorporate the O and ‘S’ stars, bringing the total number of massive stellar winds to ~100. Though the previously explored outer regions have similar X-ray properties, the X-ray flux within a PSF of Sgr A* is appreciably reduced, thereby providing an opportunity to explore the reasoning behind this with the newly developed VR tools. It is also our hope that others with 3D simulations (or observational datasets) are interested in getting their simulations into VR, on which we would be happy to collaborate.
AAS/High Energy Astrophysics Division
- Pub Date:
- March 2019