Three-Dimensional Data Visualization in SAOImage DS9 Version 7

Tracy L. Beck, tbeck@stsci.edu, & William Joye, wjoye@cfa.harvard.edu

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory released version 7 of the popular data-viewing tool SAOImage DS9 in June 2012. SAOImage DS9 is a stand-alone application for imaging and data visualization. The new version supports 3-D viewing of astronomical data cubes, which will be of great interest to the astronomical community. These days, more and more data products, in widely ranging areas of science, are in the format of 3-D data cubes. The information in such data cubes may be radio data, integral field spectroscopy, or a time series of multiple two-dimensional (2-D) images. Whatever the application, the need for new visualization tools for such complex datasets has never been greater, and the new version of SAOImage DS9 is most welcome.

In previous versions of SAOImage DS9, 3-D datacubes could be loaded into traditional 2-D image frames, and users could then step through successive z-dimension pixel slices of the data cube. New functionality in SAOImage DS9 v.7 allows users to work with the 3-D data regions in the 2-D display view. This permits simultaneous viewing of a collapsed 1-D spectrum through the data cube (see Figure 1). Users can interact with the 1-D spectra by zooming in and out on features in the plotting window.