A Community for Astronomy Visualization

Written by Robert Hurt and Gordon K. Squires

Science visualization is a key component of astronomy communications for both the research and outreach communities. Recently, several exciting steps have been taken to better connect practitioners of “AstroViz” (a nickname for the discipline), spanning researchers, educators, developers, and artists.  This work is being co-facilitated by NASA’s Universe of Learning, of which IPAC is a founding partner.

This year we have embarked on several community initiatives, including the creation of a Google group for contacting peers to ask questions, share news, and learn of upcoming events.. Anyone with interests in astronomy visualization is invited to join using this link -

We also launched a quarterly “AstroViz Community Virtual Meetup” series featuring panel discussions and short talks on a variety of visualization topics. The latest occurred on December 7, and featured a panel discussion on “Visual Storytelling,” featuring Kalina Borkiewicz from NCSA’s Advanced Visualization Lab, Brian Tatosky from CBS Studios (working on a little franchise called “Star Trek”), and Jen Christiansen from Scientific American, moderated by Ryan Wyatt from the California Academy of Sciences. Two lightning talks were contributed from the community by Carl Knox from OzGrav, ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Research, and Alex Bock from Linköping University and the OpenSpace Project.

Presentations from these Virtual Meetups, along with past AstroViz events, can be found on our YouTube channel -

“AstroViz Community Highlights” emails, which include news, tips, links to resources, and job opportunities are another of this year’s initiatives, sent to anyone who signed up for the community. Links to archived copies of these emails can be found at:

Ongoing activities of the community include in-person workshops, some of which are regularly scheduled at winter AAS meetings. The next of these will be held in New Orleans in January, 2024 (a few seats are still available at the time this was written, bookable through the AAS registration page).

The AstroViz Community of Practice is an open collaboration between NASA’s Universe of Learning  and many leaders in the community.

NASA’s Universe of Learning is a competitively selected member of the NASA Science Activation program. The Science Activation program connects NASA science experts, and real content and experiences with community leaders to do science in ways that activate minds and promote deeper understanding of our world and beyond.

This work is supported by NASA under award number NNX16AC65A to the Space Telescope Science Institute, in partnership with Caltech/IPAC, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, and JPL.

For more information about NASA’s Universe of Learning, visit:

Date: January 1st, 2024
Category: Project News
Image Link: black_hole_visualization.jpg