Digital Universe

The Digital Universe, developed by the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium, incorporates data from dozens of organizations worldwide to create the most complete and accurate 3-D atlas of the Universe from the local solar neighborhood out to the edge of the observable Universe.

Since 1998, the American Museum of Natural History and the Hayden Planetarium have engaged in the three-dimensional mapping of the Universe. This cosmic cartography brings a new perspective to our place in the Universe and redefines our sense of home. 

From the solar neighborhood out to the edge of the observable universe, the Digital Universe obtains data from scientists and organizations around the world and builds a consistent atlas where disparate data are in context with one another. 

The Digital Universe is distributed via OpenSpace, the freely available, open source interactive data visualization software.

A view from outside the Milky Way Galaxy with the star cluster data overlaid.
Looking at the Milky Way Galaxy we see the star cluster data sets overlaid. Green points are the open clusters, the larger, multicolored points are the OB associations, and the yellow points are the globular clusters.
Credit: B. Abbott/OpenSpace/AMNH

OpenSpace, co-founded by AMNH and Sweden's University of Linköping, brings the latest techniques from data visualization research to the general public. OpenSpace supports interactive presentation of dynamic data from observations, simulations, and space mission planning and operations. It requires a fairly powerful computer with a dedicated graphics card, but it is free to download.