An Elsewhere Starfield
Released on September 9, 2020
In the spirit of the original, this is a randomized star map suitable as a backdrop for views of space from places that are far from Earth. While the Gaia Data Release 2 star catalog still provides the galactic background, the stars of the Tycho 2 catalog have been randomly moved around so that no recognizable constellation figures remain. Using Tycho 2 in this way ensures that the image contains a plausible statistical distribution of star brightness and color. Tycho 2 stars down to magnitude 11.5 are included, with brighter stars moving farther than dim ones. Although the star positions are randomized, they are the same across all of the images.
The starfield is offered in two different coordinate frames. The first is in celestial coordinates, in which the x-axis of the image corresponds to Earth's equator and the galactic plane is tilted 63°. The second version of the starfield is in galactic coordinates, in which the x-axis of the image and the plane of the galaxy are parallel. All of the images are in OpenEXR's half-float format, which provides higher dynamic range in a linear colorspace while easily accommodating very large files. Most 3D animation and HDR image processing software can read OpenEXR.
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio