Honorable Mention

Interactive Black-Hole Visualization

Annemieke Verbraeck, Elmar Eisemann

View presentation: 2020-10-29T15:00:00Z GMT-0600 Change your timezone on the schedule page
Exemplar figure
We compute an adaptive grid (1 sec. per grid) for a given observer position and spin of the black hole. Grid values are interpolated to accommodate a given output resolution. The resulting frames (rendered at ~20 ms) capture the distortion of a celestial-sky map and star catalogue.
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Direct link to video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/k5YB_4cCJG4


Physical & Environmental Sciences, Engineering, Mathematics, Computer Graphics Techniques, Algorithms.


We present an efficient algorithm for visualizing the effect of black holes on its distant surroundings as seen from an observer nearby in orbit. Our solution is GPU-based and builds upon a two-step approach, where we first derive an adaptive grid to map the 360-view around the observer to the distorted celestial sky, which can be directly reused for different camera orientations. Using a grid, we can rapidly trace rays back to the observer through the distorted spacetime, avoiding the heavy workload of standard tracing solutions at real-time rates. By using a novel interpolation technique we can also simulate an observer path by smoothly transitioning between multiple grids. Our approach accepts real star catalogues and environment maps of the celestial sky and generates the resulting black-hole deformations in real time.