Publications

Submitted
Udomprasert P, Goodman A, Sunbury, S., Zhang ZH, Sadler P, Dussault M, Lotridge, E., Jackson J, Constantin A.

Visualizing Three-Dimensional Spatial Relationships in Virtual and Physical Astronomy Environments

. In: International Conference of the Learning Sciences. Boulder, CO; Submitted.Abstract
We give a brief overview of some key features of WorldWide Telescope and its Ambassadors Program, and we describe two goals for expanding the program in the coming year: scaling up training efforts; and developing “plug and play” Visualization Lab modules that teach key Earth and Space Science concepts to students while emphasizing important scientific processes and skills. We discuss several different ways that members of the astronomy education and outreach community can incorporate WWT-based materials into their work.
04_icls14-finalsubmission.pdf
2014
Udomprasert P, Goodman AA, Sunbury S, Zhang Z, Sadler PM, Dussault ME, Lotridge E, Jackson J, Constantin A.

Visualizing Moon Phases in the Classroom with WorldWide Telescope

. In: American Astronomical Society, AAS Meeting #223. Washington, DC: American Astronomical Society; 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We report results from an NSF-funded project to build, test, and research the impact of a WorldWide Telescope Visualization Lab (WWT Vizlab), meant to offer learners a deeper physical understanding of the causes of the Moon’s phases and eclipses. The Moon Phases VizLab is designed to promote accurate visualization of the complex, 3-dimensional Earth-Sun-Moon relationships required to understand the Moon’s phases, while also providing opportunities for middle school students to practice critical science skills, like using models, making predictions and observations, and linking them in evidence-based explanations. In the Moon Phases VizLab, students use both computer-based models and lamp + ball physical models. The VizLab emphasizes the use of different scales in models, why some models are to scale and some are not, and how choices we make in a model can sometimes inadvertently lead to misconceptions. For example, textbook images almost always depict the Earth and Moon as being vastly too close together, and this contributes to the common misconception that the Moon’s phases are caused by the Earth’s shadow. We tested the Moon Phases VizLab in two separate phases. In Phase 1 (fall 2012), we compared learning gains from the WorldWide Telescope (WWT) VizLab with a traditional 2-dimensional Moon phases simulator. Students in this study who used WWT had overall higher learning gains than students who used the traditional 2D simulator, and demonstrated greater enthusiasm for using the virtual model than students who used the 2D simulator. In Phase 2 (spring 2013), all students in the study used WWT for the virtual model, but we experimented with different sequencing of physical and virtual models in the classroom. We found that students who began the unit with higher prior knowledge of Moon phases (based on the pre-unit assessment) had overall higher learning gains when they used the virtual model first, followed by the physical model, while students who had lower prior knowledge benefited from using the physical model first, then the virtual model.
Udomprasert P, Goodman A, Sunbury S, Zhang ZH, Sadler P, Dussault M, Block S, Lotridge E, Jackson J, Constantin A.

Visualizing Moon Phases with WorldWide Telescope

. In: Cosmos in the Classroom, 125th Annual Meeting. San Jose, CA: Astronomical Society of the Pacific; 2014.Abstract
We report preliminary results from an NSF-funded project to build, test, and research the impact of a WorldWide Telescope Visualization Lab (WWT Vizlab), meant to o er learners a deeper physical understanding of the causes of the Moon’s phases. The Moon Phases VizLab is designed to promote accurate visualization of the complex, 3-dimensional Earth-Sun-Moon relationships required to understand the Moon’s phases, while also providing opportunities for middle school students to practice critical science skills, like using models, making predictions and observations, and linking them in evidence-based explanations. In the VizLab, students use both computer-based models and lamp + ball physical models.     We present findings from the first two phases of the study - one where we compared learning gains from the WWT VizLab with a traditional 2-dimensional Moon phases simulator; and another where we experimented with diff erent ways of blending physical and virtual models in the classroom. Presented July 20-24, 2013.
asp_2013_wwt_moon.pdf
2013
Udomprasert PS, Goodman AA, Wong C.

WorldWide Telescope Ambassadors: A Year 3 Update

. In: Communicating Science: A National Conference on Science Education and Public Outreach. Vol. 473. Tuscon, AZ: Astronomical Society of the Pacific; 2013. pp. 137. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We give a brief overview of some key features of WorldWide Telescope and its Ambassadors Program, and we describe two goals for expanding the program in the coming year: scaling up training efforts; and developing “plug and play” Visualization Lab modules that teach key Earth and Space Science concepts to students while emphasizing important scientific processes and skills. We discuss several different ways that members of the astronomy education and outreach community can incorporate WWT-based materials into their work.
asp2013-tucson-submitted.pdf
Sanders NE, Faesi C, Goodman AA. A New Approach to Developing Interactive Software Modules through Graduate Education. arXiv.org. 2013.Abstract
We discuss a set of fifteen new interactive, educational, online software modules developed by Harvard University graduate students to demonstrate various concepts related to astronomy and physics. Their achievement demonstrates that online software tools for education and outreach on specialized topics can be produced while simultaneously fulfilling project-based learning objectives. We describe a set of technologies suitable for module development and present in detail four examples of modules developed by the students. We offer recommendations for incorporating educational software development within a graduate curriculum and conclude by discussing the relevance of this novel approach to new online learning environments like edX.
1308.1908v1.pdf
2012
Goodman AA. Principles of High-Dimensional Data Visualization in Astronomy. Astronomische Nachrichten [Internet]. 2012;333(5-6):505-514. Astrobites commentary on this articleAbstract
sets, though, interactive exploratory data visualization can give far more insight than an approach where data processing and statistical analysis are followed, rather than accompanied, by visualization. This paper attempts to charts a course toward “linked view” systems, where multiple views of high-dimensional data sets update live as a researcher selects, highlights, or otherwise manipulates, one of several open views. For example, imagine a researcher looking at a 3D volume visualization of simulated or observed data, and simultaneously viewing statistical displays of the data set’s properties (such as an x-y plot of temperature vs. velocity, or a histogram of vorticities). Then, imagine that when the researcher selects an interesting group of points in any one of these displays, that the same points become a highlighted subset in all other open displays. Selections can be graphical or algorithmic, and they can be combined, and saved. For tabular (ASCII) data, this kind of analysis has long been possible, even though it has been under-used in Astronomy. The bigger issue for Astronomy and several other “high-dimensional” fields is the need systems that allow full integration of images and data cubes within a linked-view environment. The paper concludes its history and analysis of the present situation with suggestions that look toward cooperatively-developed open-source modular software as a way to create an evolving, flexible, high-dimensional, linked-view visualization environment useful in astrophysical research.
heidelberg_ag.pdf
Pepe A, Goodman A, Muench A. The ADS All-Sky Survey. In: Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XX. Paris, France; 2012. WebsiteAbstract
The ADS All-Sky Survey (ADSASS) is an ongoing effort aimed at turning the NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS), widely known for its unrivaled value as a literature resource for astronomers, into a data resource. The ADS is not a data repository per se, but it implicitly contains valuable holdings of astronomical data, in the form of images, tables and object references contained within articles. The objective of the ADSASS effort is to extract these data and make them discoverable and available through existing data viewers. The resulting ADSASS data layer promises to greatly enhance workflows and enable new research by tying astronomical literature and data assets into one resource.
1111.3983v1.pdf
Goodman A, Fay J, Muench A, Pepe A, Udomprasert P, Wong C. WorldWide Telescope in Research and Education. In: Egret D, Gabriel C ADASS XXI. San Francisco: Astronomical Society of the Pacific; 2012. pp. tba. WebsiteAbstract
The WorldWide Telescope computer program, released to researchers and the public as a free resource in 2008 by Microsoft Research, has changed the way the ever-growing Universe of online astronomical data is viewed and understood. The WWT program can be thought of as a scriptable, interactive, richly visual browser of the multi-wavelength Sky as we see it from Earth, and of the Universe as we would travel within it. In its web API format, WWT is being used as a service to display professional research data. In its desktop format, WWT works in concert (thanks to SAMP and other IVOA standards) with more traditional research applications such as ds9, Aladin and TOPCAT. The WWT Ambassadors Program (founded in 2009) recruits and trains astrophysically-literate volunteers (including retirees) who use WWT as a teaching tool in online, classroom, and informal educational settings. Early quantitative studies of WWTA indicate that student experiences with WWT enhance science learning dramatically. Thanks to the wealth of data it can access, and the growing number of services to which it connects, WWT is now a key linking technology in the Seamless Astronomy environment we seek to o er researchers, teachers, and students alike.
Udomprasert, P. GWAC. WWT Ambassadors: WorldWide Telescope for Interactive Learning. In: Annual Meeting of the American Astronomical Society. Austin, TX: AAS; 2012.Abstract
The WorldWide Telescope Ambassadors Program (WWTA) is new outreach initiative run by researchers at Harvard University, WGBH, and Microsoft Research. WWT Ambassadors are astrophysically-literate volunteers who are trained to be experts in using WWT as teaching tool. Ambassadors and learners alike use WWT to create dynamic, interactive Tours of the Universe, which are shared in schools, public venues, and online. Ambassador-created Tours are being made freely available and will ultimately form a comprehensive learning resource for Astronomy and Astrophysics. In this short talk, we will describe the results of a Pilot Study where volunteer Ambassadors helped sixth-graders use WWT during their six-week Astronomy unit. The results of the study compare learning outcomes for 80 students who participated in WWTA and 80 students who only used traditional learning materials. In the comparison, we find that, after the six-week unit: twice as many "WWT” as "non-WWT” students understand complex three dimensional orbital relationships; and tremendous gains are seen in student interest in science overall, astronomy in particular, and even in using "real” telescopes. Plans for WWTA include expansion to five US sites within the coming year, and ultimately to an International Program. Online materials will ultimately be available through several sites (at WGBH, Harvard and Microsoft), and will be integrated with existing online curriculum programs such as WGBH's Teachers’ Domain and Microsoft's Partners in Learning. More inormation is presently available at www.cfa.harvard.edu/WWTAmbassadors/.
2012_aas_austin_poster_vag.pdf
2011
G. Fabbiano, C. Brogan CDEIFGMPDSGP. Recommendations of the Virtual Astronomical Observatory (VAO) Science Council for the VAO second year activity. Cambridge, MA: VAO; 2011 pp. 6. WebsiteAbstract
The VAO (Virtual Astronomical Observatory) Science Council (VAO-SC) met on July 27-28, 2011 at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge MA, to review the VAO performance during its first year of operations. In this meeting the VAO demonstrated the new tools for astronomers that are being released in September 2011 and presented plans for the second year of activities, resulting from studies conducted during the first year. This document contains the recommendations of the VAO-SC for the second year of activity of the VAO.
1108.4348.pdf
Goodman, A. A.; Udomprasert KSSPS ; B ;. Astronomy Visualization for Education and Outreach. In: Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XX. Boston, MA; 2011. WebsiteAbstract
About 50 participants came to a discussion on the benefits and potential obstacles of using astronomy visualization tools for education and public outreach (EPO). Representatives of five different EPO organizations shared information on their project goals and outcomes. Public users need support to learn how to use these programs effectively for education, but the efforts are worthwhile because the thrill that comes from working with real data and the natural beauty of astronomical imagery are great attractors for new science enthusiasts.
442-0659.pdf
Goodman AA. A Guide to Comparisons of Star Formation Simulations with Observations. Computational Star Formation [Internet]. 2011. WebsiteAbstract
Abstract. We review an approach to observation-theory comparisons we call \Taste-Testing." In this approach, synthetic observations are made of numerical simulations, and then both real and synthetic observations are \tasted" (compared) using a variety of statistical tests. We rst lay out arguments for bringing theory to observational space rather than observations to theory space. Next, we explain that generating synthetic observations is only a step along the way to the quantitative, statistical, taste tests that o er the most insight. We o er a set of examples focused on polarimetry, scattering and emission by dust, and spectral-line mapping in starforming regions. We conclude with a discussion of the connection between statistical tests used to date and the physics we seek to understand. In particular, we suggest that the \lognormal" nature of molecular clouds can be created by the interaction of many random processes, as can the lognormal nature of the IMF, so that the fact that both the \Clump Mass Function" (CMF) and IMF appear lognormal does not necessarily imply a direct relationship between them.
1107.2827v1.pdf
Goodman AA, Strom SE, Udomprasert P, Valva A, Wong C. WWT Ambassadors: Worldwide Telescope For Interactive Learning. In: American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts 217. Vol. 43. ; 2011. Website
Accomazzi A, Dave R. Semantic Interlinking of Resources in the Virtual Observatory Era. In: Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XX. Boston, MA; 2011. WebsiteAbstract
In the coming era of data-intensive science, it will be increasingly important to be able to seamlessly move between scientific results, the data analyzed in them, and the processes used to produce them. As observations, derived data products, publications, and object metadata are curated by different projects and archived in different locations, establishing the proper linkages between these resources and describing their relationships becomes an essential activity in their curation and preservation. In this paper we describe initial efforts to create a semantic knowledge base allowing easier integration and linking of the body of heterogeneous astronomical resources which we call the Virtual Observatory (VO). The ultimate goal of this effort is the creation of a semantic layer over existing resources, allowing applications to cross boundaries between archives. The proposed approach follows the current best practices in Semantic Computing and the architecture of the web, allowing the use of off-the-shelf technologies and providing a path for VO resources to become part of the global web of linked data.
2010
Fabbiano, G.; Calzetti CDEIFGMPD ; C ;. Recommendations of the VAO-Science Council. VAO-Science Council; 2010 pp. 9. WebsiteAbstract
Recommendations of the VAO-Science Council following the meeting of March 26-27, 2010. Meeting web page.
1006.2168.pdf
Kurtz M  J, Accomazzi A, Henneken E, Di Milia G, Grant C  S. Using Multipartite Graphs for Recommendation and Discovery. In: {Y. Mizumoto, K.-I. Morita, M. Ohishi} Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XIX. Vol. 434. ; 2010. pp. 155-+. Website
Kurtz M  J. The Emerging Scholarly Brain. In: Future Professional Communication in Astronomy-II (FPCA-II). Cambridge, MA; 2010. WebsiteAbstract
It is now a commonplace observation that human society is becoming a coherent super-organism, and that the information infrastructure forms its emerging brain. Perhaps, as the underlying technologies are likely to become billions of times more powerful than those we have today, we could say that we are now building the lizard brain for the future organism.
Henneken E  A, Kurtz M  J, Accomazzi A, Grant C, Thompson D, Bohlen E, Di Milia G, Luker J, Murray S  S. Finding Your Literature Match – A Recommender System. In: Future Professional Communication in Astronomy II,. Cambridge, MA; 2010. Website
Accomazzi A. Astronomy 3.0 Style {E. Isaksson, J. Lagerstrom A H, N. Bawdekar}. Library and Information Services in Astronomy VI: 21st Century Astronomy Librarianship, From New Ideas to Action [Internet]. 2010;433:273. Website
Rodriguez MA, Pepe A, Shinavier J. The dilated triple. In: Chbeir B, Hassanien A Emergent Web Intelligence: Advanced Semantic Technologies. Springer; 2010. pp. 3-16. WebsiteAbstract
The basic unit of meaning on the Semantic Web is the RDF statement, or triple, which combines a distinct subject, predicate and object to make a definite assertion about the world. A set of triples constitutes a graph, to which they give a collective meaning. It is upon this simple foundation that the rich, complex knowledge structures of the Semantic Web are built. Yet the very expressiveness of RDF, by inviting comparison with real-world knowledge, highlights a fundamental shortcoming, in that RDF is limited to statements of absolute fact, independent of the context in which a statement is asserted. This is in stark contrast with the thoroughly context-sensitive nature of human thought. The model presented here provides a particularly simple means of contextualizing an RDF triple by associating it with related statements in the same graph. This approach, in combination with a notion of graph similarity, is sufficient to select only those statements from an RDF graph which are subjectively most relevant to the context of the requesting process.