CSC Sky in Google Earth

McLaughlin, Warren

CSC Sky provides a visual presentation of Chandra Source Catalog (CSC) data to users through Google Earth. Professional and amateur astronomers can quickly scan the sky or use Google Earth's search features to navigate to a specific location by name or by position. Photometrically correct tri-color images detailing detected X-ray emissions contained in the catalog are displayed within outlined instrument fields of view. Layers and transparency adjustment facilitate overlays with other publicly available information such as optical or infrared data. Real time queries via the catalog public interface provide source markers for the viewable area of the sky. Clicking on any displayed source marker invokes a balloon of principal source properties as well as a link to the source catalog for data product retrieval.

The current release of CSC Sky combines real time database access to the Chandra Source Catalog with access to pipeline processed data that were extracted from the catalog archive. This paper will discuss some of the design choices that were made to provide aesthetically pleasing yet scientifically correct images while maintaining an easy-to-use interface. Constraints such as time, data volume, and processing power have their roles in shaping projects. We will note how these factors impacted the development of CSC Sky.

Finally, we will conclude by looking at enhancements in features, interoperability, and data presentation.

Support of the development of CSC Sky is provided by National Aeronautics and Space Administration through the Chandra X-ray Center, which is operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory for and on behalf of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under contract NAS8-03060.

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