The Astronomical Medicine (AstroMed) Project
Douglas Alan (), Michelle Borkin (), Alyssa Goodman (/CfA), Mike Halle (/HMS), Jens Kauffmann (CfA/)

Views of the star forming region IC 348 as seen in the medical imaging programs 3D Slicer and OsiriX. Left: 3D Contour map of IC 348 with orthogonal slices as seen in 3D Slicer using 13CO molecular line emission data from the COMPLETE Survey of Star Forming regions. Right: 3D Volume rendered model of IC 348 as seen in OsiriX using CO molecular line emission data from the COMPLETE Survey of Star Forming Regions.

We have a new project page! Please go to:

This page contains information about the medical imaging software used by the AstroMed project and the analysis of the COMPLETE data to date. The two programs currently being used are 3D Slicer and OsiriX which can be downloaded for free. In the tables below is information for obtaining these programs, and a sample set of data with models. For more detailed information on the astronomical applications of 3D Slicer, see the publications listed below. If you have any questions, please let us know.

Please note that the software downloads are for the current medical imaging programs - an "astronomical" version is forthcoming!

Saw our stereo viewer glasses with AstroMed images at the AAS/AAPT 2007 Meeting? Want some for yourself or your classroom? If you are interested in ordering them or would like more information, send an email to:

Mailing ListsMovies/AnimationsPublications & PresentationsRelated Press ArticlesMedical Imaging SoftwareSample Data Sets

Mailing Lists

Announcement List: If you would like to receive updates on the project and notifications of new downloads, please send an email with "subscribe" in the subject header to:

Questions?: If you have any questions about the project or using these programs with our sample data sets, please send an email to


Demo Movie (73 MB) Demo movie of astronomical data in 3D Slicer and OsiriX submitted to the 207th AAS Special Session on Astronomical Visualization.

NGC 1333 Animation (11 MB) Illustrative animation of NGC 1333 including COMPLETE Survey molecular line data and Spitzer c2d Legacy images.

Publications & Presentations

Michelle Borkin, Alyssa Goodman, Michael Halle, Douglas Alan, Jens Kauffmann,
"Application of Medical Imaging Software to the 3D Visualization of Astronomical Data", 1/2007, 2007 AAS/AAPT Joint Meeting, American Astronomical Society Meeting 209, #57.06. Presentation: PPT PDF.

Michelle Borkin, Alyssa Goodman, Michael Halle, Douglas Alan, "Application of Medical Imaging Software to 3D Visualization of Astronomical Data", 10/2006, ADASS XVI Conference. Presentation: PPT PDF (linked movies).

Michelle A. Borkin, "A COMPLETE Survey of Velocity Features in Perseus", 5/2006, Harvard University Undergraduate Senior Thesis. PPT Presentation.

Michelle A. Borkin, Naomi A. Ridge, Alyssa A. Goodman, Michael Halle, "Demonstration of the Applicability of "3D Slicer" to Astronomical Data using 13CO and C18O Observations of IC348", 5/2005, Harvard University Undergraduate Junior Thesis.

Related Press Articles

"Innovative Computing Initiative Sets Sights on Projects", Harvard Gazette (September 28, 2006)

"Harvard-wide Initiative in Innovative Computing to Provide Collaboration Opportunities", Harvard Public Health Now (June 8, 2005)

Medical Imaging Software
Name URL Platforms More Information
3D Slicer

3D Slicer Screen Shot
Solaris, Linux, MacOSX, and Windows 3D Slicer is a visualization program that was originally developed at MIT's Artificial Intelligence Lab in conjunction with Brigham and Women's Hospital's Surgical Planning Lab (Harvard Medical School Affiliate). The program was designed to help surgeons in the operating room be able to visualize MRI scans in a more helpful way (i.e. see where a brain tumor is located). It can read in a series of images to construct a data cube from which cuts/slices can be taken in any direction through it, 3D isosurface models can be generated, and 3D texture mapping can be created.

OsiriX Screen Shot
Mac0SX OsiriX was designed as an medical image processing software to handle 2D, 3D, and 4D image sets including both medical image formats (DICOM) and standard formats (TIFF, JPEG). It's most impressive feature is it's volume rendering capabilities. Models can be saved as a Quicktime movie, a Quicktime VR, and can even be loaded onto an iPod. (The sample Quicktime movies were made using COMPLETE's 13CO data of Perseus.)

3D Slicer Data Sets
Each download contains the indicated volume and models ready to be opened in 3D Slicer. Just gunzip and untar the downloaded file, open 3D Slicer, select the "Open Scene" command from the "File" pull-down menu and select the file marked "data.xml".
Region Download Description
IC 348 13CO surface models of the IC 348 starforming region. NOTE: The 13CO data is taken from Ridge et al. 2003, AJ, 126, 286. This set of models was created for Borkin et al. 2005, astro-ph/0506604.