English-Video.net comment policy

The comment field is common to all languages

Let's write in your language and use "Google Translate" together

Please refer to informative community guidelines on TED.com

TED2010

Carter Emmart: A 3D atlas of the universe

Filmed
Views 1,695,543

For the last 12 years, Carter Emmart has been coordinating the efforts of scientists, artists and programmers to build a complete 3D visualization of our known universe. He demos this stunning tour and explains how it's being shared with facilities around the world.

- Scientist, Artist
Carter Emmart uses astronomy and computational modeling to create scientifically accurate, three-dimensional tours of our universe. Full bio

It's a great honor today
00:15
to share with you
00:17
The Digital Universe,
00:19
which was created for humanity
00:21
to really see where we are
00:23
in the universe.
00:25
And so I think we can roll the video that we have.
00:28
[The Himalayas.]
00:30
(Music)
00:33
The flat horizon that we've evolved with
00:35
has been a metaphor for the
00:38
infinite: unbounded resources
00:40
and unlimited capacity
00:42
for disposal of waste.
00:44
It wasn't until we really
00:47
left Earth,
00:49
got above the atmosphere
00:51
and had seen the horizon
00:53
bend back on itself,
00:55
that we could understand our planet
00:58
as a limited condition.
01:00
The Digital Universe Atlas
01:04
has been built
01:09
at the American Museum of Natural History
01:11
over the past 12 years.
01:14
We maintain that,
01:17
put that together
01:19
as a project
01:21
to really chart the universe
01:23
across all scales.
01:25
What we see here are satellites around the Earth
01:29
and the Earth in proper registration
01:32
against the universe, as we see.
01:35
NASA supported this work
01:42
12 years ago
01:44
as part of the rebuilding
01:47
of the Hayden Planetarium
01:49
so that we would share this with the world.
01:51
The Digital Universe is the basis
01:54
of our space show productions that we do --
01:56
our main space shows in the dome.
01:58
But what you see here
02:01
is the result of, actually, internships
02:03
that we hosted with Linkoping University
02:05
in Sweden.
02:08
I've had 12 students work on this
02:10
for their graduate work,
02:13
and the result has been this software called Uniview
02:15
and a company called SCISS in Sweden.
02:18
This software
02:22
allows interactive use,
02:24
so this actual flight path
02:27
and movie that we see here
02:29
was actually flown live.
02:31
I captured this live from my laptop
02:33
in a cafe called Earth Matters
02:36
on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where I live,
02:39
and it was done
02:42
as a collaborative project
02:44
with the Rubin Museum of Himalayan Art
02:46
for an exhibit
02:49
on comparative cosmology.
02:52
And so as we move out,
02:56
we see continuously from our planet
02:58
all the way out into the realm of galaxies, as we see here,
03:01
light-travel time, giving you a sense of how far away we are.
03:04
As we move out,
03:09
the light from these distant galaxies
03:11
have taken so long,
03:13
we're essentially backing up into the past.
03:15
We back so far up
03:18
we're finally seeing a containment around us --
03:20
the afterglow of the Big Bang.
03:23
This is the WMAP
03:25
microwave background
03:27
that we see.
03:29
We'll fly outside it here, just to see this sort of containment.
03:31
If we were outside this,
03:34
it would almost be meaningless, in the sense as before time.
03:36
But this our containment of the visible universe.
03:39
We know the universe is bigger than that which we can see.
03:42
Coming back quickly,
03:44
we see here the radio sphere that we jumped out of in the beginning,
03:46
but these are positions,
03:49
the latest positions of exoplanets
03:51
that we've mapped,
03:54
and our sun here, obviously, with our own solar system.
03:56
What you're going to see -- we're going to have to jump in here pretty quickly
04:01
between several orders of magnitude
04:04
to get down to where we see the solar system --
04:06
these are the paths of
04:08
Voyager 1, Voyager 2, Pioneer 11 and Pioneer 10,
04:10
the first four spacecraft to have left the solar system.
04:13
Coming in closer,
04:18
picking up Earth,
04:20
orbit of the Moon, and we see the Earth.
04:24
This map can be updated,
04:30
and we can add in new data.
04:33
I know Dr. Carolyn Porco is the camera P.I.
04:35
for the Cassini mission.
04:37
But here we see the complex trajectory
04:39
of the Cassini mission
04:41
color coded for different mission phases,
04:43
ingeniously developed so that
04:45
45 encounters with the largest moon, Titan,
04:47
which is larger that the planet Mercury,
04:49
diverts the orbit into different parts of mission phase.
04:51
This software allows us to come close
04:56
and look at parts of this.
04:58
This software can also be networked between domes.
05:01
We have a growing user base of this,
05:04
and we network domes.
05:06
And we can network between domes and classrooms.
05:08
We're actually sharing tours of the universe
05:12
with the first sub-Saharan
05:15
planetarium in Ghana
05:17
as well as
05:19
new libraries that have been built
05:21
in the ghettos in Columbia
05:23
and a high school
05:25
in Cambodia.
05:27
And the Cambodians have
05:29
actually controlled the Hayden Planetarium from their high school.
05:31
This is an image from Saturday,
05:35
photographed by the Aqua satellite, but through the Uniview software.
05:37
So you're seeing the edge of the Earth.
05:40
This is Nepal.
05:42
This is, in fact, right here is the valley of Lhasa,
05:44
right here in Tibet.
05:47
But we can see the haze
05:50
from fires and so forth in the Ganges valley
05:52
down below in India.
05:54
This is Nepal and Tibet.
05:56
And just in closing,
06:00
I'd just like to say this beautiful world that we live on --
06:03
here we see a bit of the snow
06:08
that some of you may have had to brave in coming out --
06:10
so I'd like to just say
06:15
that what the world needs now
06:17
is a sense of being able to
06:19
look at ourselves in this much larger condition now
06:21
and a much larger sense of what home is.
06:24
Because our home is the universe,
06:27
and we are the universe, essentially.
06:29
We carry that in us.
06:31
And to be able to see our context
06:33
in this larger sense at all scales
06:36
helps us all, I think, in understanding
06:39
where we are and who we are in the universe.
06:41
Thank you.
06:43
(Applause)
06:45

▲Back to top

About the speaker:

Carter Emmart - Scientist, Artist
Carter Emmart uses astronomy and computational modeling to create scientifically accurate, three-dimensional tours of our universe.

Why you should listen

As the Director of Astrovisualization at the American Museum of Natural History, Carter Emmart directs their groundbreaking space shows and heads up development of an interactive 3D atlas called The Digital Universe. He coordinates scientists, programmers and artists to produce scientifically accurate yet visually stunning and immersive space experiences in the AMNH’s Hayden Planetarium. Over the last decade, he has directed four shows: Passport to the Universe, The Search for Life: Are we Alone?, Cosmic Collisions and Journey to the Stars.

Emmart’s interest in space began early, and at ten he was taking astronomy courses in the old Hayden. As a child born into a family of artists, he naturally combined his love of science with his tendency for visualization. His first work was in architectural modeling, soon moving on to do scientific visualization for NASA and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, before joining the AMNH.

More profile about the speaker
Carter Emmart | Speaker | TED.com