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Simulation Videos

These are Adobe Captivate videos (Flash) demonstrating the capabilities of a particular simulation and providing guidance on how to use it interactively in the introductory astronomy classroom.

360 Videos

What is this project? — This project by undergraduate Physics major Brandon Harper is an analysis of the current state of 360-degree videos and an application of 360-degree technology to astronomy education. Many useful resources utilizing the 360-degree technology have been compiled to be used for teaching astronomy. This format of astronomy education offers an edge for common geometric intensive astronomical phenomena. Viewing objects like quasars, solar systems, and rings around a planet in spherical space is not only more interesting and participative for students, but yields deeper understanding.

What is a 360-degree video? — 360 degree videos are videos that allow a viewer to see video in every direction. This is done often by recording using multiple cameras or a single camera with multiple lenses to get a spherical video. Computer generated videos can also be in a 360-degree format like many of the astronomy videos.

How it operates? — Viewing with a phone holder utilizes the internal gyroscope of the phone to navigate the video based on the orientation of the device. Other devices offer built in systems where everything is viewed in a spherical format. Including headphones and even the ability to navigate one’s environment would be the immersive steps taken to drift towards virtual reality. This goes beyond the visual-perspective applications of 360-degree videos.

Applications? — Applications of immersive VR span many fields, including amazing research in the medical field. Surgery simulations and so on can be very effective in teaching future medical professionals. The application explored here is astronomy. Using just simple 360-degree visual perspective, users canbetter visualize deeply geometric phenomena and see worlds unlike their own.

What you need? — First you will need the software that contains the 360-degree video. The videos we suggest are on YouTube and can be accessed once the YouTube app is downloaded and your device is connected to the internet. The second piece of equipment required isa VR viewer to hold your phone. A simple Google Cardboard will work well and allow you to view the YouTube videos in 360 degrees.

Resources