TimeTubes: Design of a visualization tool for time-dependent, multivariate blazar datasets

Longyin Xu, Masanori Nakayama, Hsiang Yun Wu, Kazuho Watanabe, Shigeo Takahashi, Makoto Uemura, Issei Fujishiro

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Citations (Scopus)


Blazars are active galactic nuclei whose relativistic jets ejected from the central black hole are pointing toward the Earth. Astronomers have attempted to classify blazars, but analyzing the time-dependent multivariate datasets with conventional visualization methods, such as scatter plot matrices, is difficult. This paper presents TimeTubes, a new visualization scheme that allows astronomers to analyze dynamic changes in and feature causality among the multiple time-varying variables. We target six representative time-varying variables from the originals, including two polarization-related parameters and their corresponding errors, intensity, and color. The four polarization parameters with a common time stamp are transformed to an ellipse, and a series of such ellipses are aligned in parallel along the time line to form a volumetric tube in 3D space. The resulting tube is then colorized by the observed intensities and colors of the blazar. We designed a designated interface with nine functions to control the view of the tube interactively. The usability of TimeTubes is discussed with feedback from astronomers.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - NICOGRAPH International 2016, NicoInt 2016
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781509023059
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Sept 9
Event15th NICOGRAPH International, NicoInt 2016 - Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
Duration: 2016 Jul 62016 Jul 8

Publication series

NameProceedings - NICOGRAPH International 2016, NicoInt 2016


Other15th NICOGRAPH International, NicoInt 2016
CityHangzhou, Zhejiang


  • 3D information visualization
  • Blazar
  • Multivariate data
  • Time-dependent data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Media Technology
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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