THE APPLICATION OF VIRTUAL REALITY IN ASTRONOMY EDUCATION

W. Tarng and H. Liou

Keywords

Virtual reality, astronomy education, Internet, webbased learning

Abstract

In this paper, we study the virtual reality technologies for developing a virtual astronomical museum, which can be applied in astronomy education. The museum contains four exhibition areas of the following topics: Astronomy Technologies, the Moon and Earth, the Solar System, and Observing Constellations. We developed the virtual scenes of astronomical museum, including the domed building, exhibition areas, displayed objects, and several models to simulate the motion of celestial bodies. Users can operate the models by setting time, position, and speed to observe the changes of astronomical phenomena. In virtual astronomical museum, we can see a lot of exhibits as if visiting a real astronomical museum. It is accessible through network and highly interactive with 3D visual effects. In addition, learning on the virtual website is not limited by time or space. Therefore, it is a very useful tool to enhance astronomical knowledge.

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