Luminosity – a web app for astronomical analyses and visuali
What problem are you intending to solve?
Easily create interactive scientific visualizations in a web application.
What is the technological approach, or development roadmap?
Modern astrophysics is a domain where emphasis continues to move towards big data. Over the past decade the field has collected data at a rapid rate. The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) set a precedent by surveying the sky each night using a robotic telescope. In a few years the Large Synoptic Sky Survey (LSST) will collect higher resolution images with a data generation rate of 3700 gigabytes per night. Storing these data is a challenging task, but so is their consumption.
Astronomers work with a variety of tools to analyze existing data products. Older tools are mostly written in Java, many written more than a decade ago. Current tools are built using high level languages such as Python coupled with scientific libraries. GUI based tools and high level languages are needed to quickly complete common tasks, such as visualization. At the moment there are no web based analysis tools that utilize the latest web technologies.
Though this application is domain specific, the development process will utilize HTML5 APIs and WebGL in a unique way that may be useful to other disciplines. Much like astronomical images, medical imagery requires special tools to convey their high dynamic range. Each field may share lessons learned so that future development is facilitated.
How will end users interact with it, and how will they benefit?
How will your app leverage the 1Gbps, sliceable and deeply programmable network?
Archives containing astronomical data are spread across the world. Traditionally each archive provides a web interface to interact and request datasets. In some cases these data are placed in cold storage requiring requests to be staged before delivery. With a gigabit network and a movement towards building faster and larger storage systems, astronomers will have quicker access to these datasets. Some members of the astronomical community are advocating for archives to adopt CORS. CORS enabled archives will allow web applications, such as Luminosity, to seamlessly retrieve remote data sources so that requesting and analyzing data are blended into one seamless process.
Further application information
Additional supporting information, materials and resources
Read about project updates - project blog
Take a look at the existing code - project repository
Will your work be beta-ready by the end of the Development Challenge?
The web application will be beta-ready, however further modifications can improve reliability when handling gigabyte size files.
How much effort do you expect this work to take?
Achieving a beta release for Luminosity needs approximately one month of dedicated development. Solid groundwork has already been laid with existing astrojs libraries. Each library has been developed with modularity in mind, so that integration with any web application is seamless.
Do you need help?
Yes. The developer will interact with the wider community to garner feedback about which aspects of Luminosity take precedence. Feedback from user interface and user experience experts would be fruitful if available.
If you can help let them know in the comments below.
Citizen Science developer for the Zooniverse. Usually found in a planetarium or climbing a crag.
and team members
The astrojs project is lead by Amit Kapadia, a developer for the citizen science platform Zooniverse, who is eager for his community to adopt standard web technologies. Development of Luminosity will be done by a single developer with input from an international network of technologically savvy astronomers.