Although a work-in-progress, this gif and adjacent images are a quick snapshot of what is called an "n-body" simulation. For physicists and astronomers, these simulations generate an "n" number of particles subject to a certain set of physical constraints, such as gravity, as a way to visualize and contextualize real or simulated data. In this case, Kate created 10,000 "stars" using actual positions of stars measured by the Gaia satellite mission. Integrating Python with Blender, a 3D computer graphics software often used for animated movies, Kate will build on this current simulation by adding measured velocities, luminosities, and temperatures to each star in an effort to represent variations in stellar motion, brightness, and color.
Kate Steiner is a junior undergraduate majoring in astronomy with a special interest in astrovisualization and science communication. They like long walks in the park, a steaming cup of tea on a chilly evening, and screaming into the void. Find more of Kate's art on their Instagram @opiartsy and listen to the science and society podcast they co-host, "What Do We Know?", on Spotify.