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Hipparcos 3D Stereo Images of the Sky

These 3d Stereo images were created using data from The Hipparcos and Tycho Catalogues. The relative distances are calculated from the Hipparcos parallax measurements and the star colours are generated using the V magnitude and B-V values from the Catalogues. The following star fields are available (in sets of 3):

Arcturus (HIP 69673)Beta Hydri (HIP 57936)61 Cygni (HIP 104217)[PDF]
Gamma Draconis (HIP 87833)Groombridge 1830 (HIP 57939)Sirius (HIP 32349)[PDF]
Beta Doradus (HIP 26069)51 Pegasi (HIP 113357)X Sgr (HIP 87072)[PDF]
Alpha Perseus (cluster)Praeseppe (cluster)Coma Ber (cluster)[PDF]
Hyades (cluster)IC2391 (cluster)Pleiades (cluster)[PDF]

The images can be viewed on the screen, or printed and viewed on paper copies. The effect will work for black and white prints, but is better with colour copies. In each of the following examples, the target object is at the centre of the field, which is about 6 × 6°2. The target object is projected to lie in the plane of the page or screen. Only objects from the Hipparcos Catalogue are displayed.

Each field comprises 3 images which can be viewed in two distinct ways:

  • Cover the leftmost of the set of three images, and use the rightmost pair for "fused" free-eye imaging: view the page from a distance of about 30 to 50 cm under good and uniform lighting conditions. Focus on the images, but "relax" the eyes so that they converge at infinity (imagine that you are staring through the paper at a distant point, so that the left eye observes and focuses on the left (middle) image, while the right eye observes and focuses on the right image). Try to fix on a particular object until the depth effect appears: when it does, the results are rather dramatic, and you can roam across the field, examining the relative distances of the various stars in it. Unfortunately, many people seem to be either unable, or not patient enough, to find the effect. In this case, you might try the second method
  • Cover the rightmost of the set of three images, and place a good quality mirror, with a height of about 10 cm, midway between the leftmost pair, perpendicular to the page, and with the reflecting surface facing the leftmost image. With your head a few cm above the top edge of the mirror, look at the right (middle) image with the right eye, and look at the left (inverted) image, in the mirror, with the left eye. You may need to experiment with the positioning of the mirror, and your head, such that you have an unobstructed view of the right image with your right eye, and of the full mirror image with the left eye. Again, fix on a particular object until the depth effect appears. The method is simpler, if slightly less dramatic, than the fused method; it works because in focusing on the page the eyes naturally try to converge, so that viewing the left image in the mirror requires no particular muscular contortions.


3D Stereo Images
Stereo Sky Maps
More 3D Images
Ursa Major
Cygnus and Lyra
     Copyright © 2015 European Space Agency. All rights reserved.
This page was first created on 21 May, 2007 and was last updated on 5 July, 2007.
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