The New York Film Academy partnered with Caltech to illustrate the path of a brown dwarf star. In order to illustrate the benefits of visual animation in presenting pertinent astronomical research, the Academy’s animation faculty and staff produced a short visualization of Dr. Davy Kirkpatrick’s research featuring the proper motion of an L-Class sub-brown dwarf star.

Dr. Kirkpatrick’s research led to the discovery of a brown dwarf star in our galaxy. Utilizing 60 years of telescope observation data he was able to map out the path of the star. If you’re not well versed in astronomy, however, this imagery is neither visually appealing or particularly comprehensible. The challenge for our students was to create something that resolved these issues. In order to do that, they had to understand more about the subject matter and why this discovery was so important. They researched Brown Dwarf stars, understood the process of finding such stars, and better understood the complexity involved in classifying celestial objects. The end result is animation that clarifies the subject of the piece, is visually appealing and comprehensible to everyone, not just experts. Dr. Kirkpatrick was also pleased the final result because there is a clear difference between raw data translated from telescopes (which are limited in their magnifying power) to something that is artistically pleasing yet entirely accurate.  The collaboration brings to light exactly how the arts can help science.