Biology graduate student Eleanor Lutz uses her spare time working on Tabletop Whale. This science illustration blog is an outlet for her creativity, allowing her to publish drawings, infographics, and data visualizations relating to science. Her latest project, Atlas of Space, is an exciting set of astronomy maps. Using open source datasets, she’s designed incredibly artistic visualizations that have a vintage feel to them.
Lutz has been working on the project for the past year and a half, just announcing it to the public in June 2019. Since then, she’s been releasing a map each week. Every map is accompanied by an interesting explanation of how she achieved her results, as well as the sources used in the work.
The Atlas of Space is comprised of ten maps, including an orbit map of over 18,000 asteroids, a topographical map of Mars, a map of the constellations in the Western sky, and a map of the moon’s geology. Rendered in stunning color to accompany the precise detail, Lutz’s maps are an incredible way to visualize astronomy.
Animated Earth showing cloud, sun, and Arctic ice patterns.
“The most surprising part of the project was all of the help and advice offered by the astronomy community,” Lutz shared with My Modern Met. “I asked many astronomers for help with this project, and I was really happy to find that many scientists were willing to meet with me, or send me detailed tutorials or helpful articles over email.”
In the end, though design isn’t her day job, Lutz’s love for drawing and sketching has allowed to her gain an even deeper appreciation for the solar system. “I’m hoping to share my feeling that the solar system is a pretty amazing place, and that it’s even more amazing that we understand so much about it.”
Check out more of the impression astronomy maps from Atlas of Space.
These topographical maps of different planets and celestial bodies have a vintage flair.
Perhaps the most impressive map is this look at the orbit of everything in the solar system over 10 km.
This includes 18,000 asteroids and comets.