The software in which the model was built is Partiview, written by Stuart Levy.
Data on galaxies come from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, prepared by Mark Subbarao of Sloan / U Chicago / Adler.
The picture of the Milky Way in some of the movies was taken by the COBE satellite.
Data for the Milky Way, locations of the local galaxies, and Partiview code for the Cosmic Microwave Background was taken from the Digital Universe models created by the American Museum of Natural History and the Hayden Planetarium. More specifically:
(Note that we have not used any part of the AMNH/Hayden Extragalactic Atlas, which we highly recommend for amateur and professional amateurs and professionals. It is not as pretty as ours, since galaxies are represented by colored points rather than pictures, but that also means you can run it on a slower computer. You can get it from the Digital Universe page.)
Pictures of the local galaxies were retouched from original pictures taken by the following people. The retouching consisted of clipping out a circular part of the original photograph centered at the galaxy and increasing the contrast so that the background was black. Note that most pictures come from, or were linked to by, the seds.org collection of Messier objects.
This work was conducted at the University of Chicago, in collaboration with SciTech Hands-On Science Museum and the Adler Planetarium & Science Museum.
The Cosmus group is part of the SCOPE program to give graduate students experience in presenting science through museums. SCOPE receives generous support from the National Science Foundation, the Center for Cosmological Physics (CfCP) grant NSF PHY-0114422, and the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC); and from the University of Chicago: High Energy Physics group (HEP) , Professional Program in Computer Sciences, Women's Board, and the Physical Sciences Division.