The ilumbra volumetric 3-D model of the radio galaxy Centaurus A.

3-D stereo vision for television and cinema are dead, again. In astronomy, however, we must extend its realm. There are good reasons to do so. The first is that there are very few spatial cues to perceive depth in astronomical images (compared to the potentially nine cues in pictures of our daily environment). Opacity, haze and symmetry are the only ones that work to some extent. So, seeing the space in space is not something that humans have been primed for.

At ilumbra we pursue the hope that 3-D viewing using stereo vision and interactive manipulation improves the visual interpretation of nebulae. To achieve that we need 3-D models. For reasons of realism, we want them to be volumetric and as astrophysical as possible. For interactive 3-D models in live presentations, those attributes are rather new on main-stream graphics cards. With ilumbra´s new iluvia software all that is now possible with a few clicks of a button…right in your web browser…for public talks or even interactive exhibits in science center or for-fun exploration at home. Iluvia is still under development. At we are therefore interested in your comments and suggestions. Don´t hesitate to drop us a note via or the contact form on