Stereo pairs in Astrophysics
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- Vogt, F. & Wagner, A.Y. Astrophys Space Sci (2012) 337: 79. doi:10.1007/s10509-011-0801-z
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Stereoscopic visualization is seldom used in Astrophysical publications and presentations compared to other scientific fields, e.g., Biochemistry, where it has been recognized as a valuable tool for decades. We put forth the view that stereo pairs can be a useful tool for the Astrophysics community in communicating a truer representation of astrophysical data. Here, we review the main theoretical aspects of stereoscopy, and present a tutorial to easily create stereo pairs using Python. We then describe how stereo pairs provide a way to incorporate 3D data in 2D publications of standard journals. We illustrate the use of stereo pairs with one conceptual and two Astrophysical science examples: an integral field spectroscopy study of a supernova remnant, and numerical simulations of a relativistic AGN jet. We also use these examples to make the case that stereo pairs are not merely an ostentatious way to present data, but an enhancement in the communication of scientific results in publications because they provide the reader with a realistic view of multi-dimensional data, be it of observational or theoretical nature. In recognition of the ongoing 3D expansion in the commercial sector, we advocate an increased use of stereo pairs in Astrophysics publications and presentations as a first step towards new interactive and multi-dimensional publication methods.