Exploring the Frontiers of Space in 3D

Special topic: Astronomy Education Beyond the Classroom
5th Shaw-IAU Workshop
Wednesday Nov. 29, 2023
UTC: 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
, UTC: 3:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.
, UTC: 5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.
, UTC: 8 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
, Thursday Nov. 30, 2023
UTC: 12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m.
, UTC: 2:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.
, UTC: 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.
, UTC: 8:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.
, Friday Dec. 1, 2023
UTC: 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
, UTC: 12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m.

Immersive virtual reality provides an excellent way to experience astronomy facilities that the public generally cannot visit. Epic Games’ Unreal Engine has been used to create a 3D exhibit where visitors use a game controller to walk their avatars among cutting-edge optical and radio telescopes, with the Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes hovering overhead. Several of the telescopes are animated. OSIRIS-Rex is seen next to a detailed and suitably scaled rendition of the Bennu asteroid, and part of the virtual real estate is textured as a Martian surface with several Mars missions included. Visits are self-guided with interactive posters giving the main scientific results of the various telescopes and missions.


Chris Impey is a University Distinguished Professor of Astronomy at the University of Arizona. He has over 450 publications on education and observational cosmology, and his research has been supported by $20 million in NASA and NSF grants. He has won eleven teaching awards and has taught four online classes with 400,000 enrolled and 6 million minutes of video lectures watched. Impey is a past Vice President of the American Astronomical Society and has won its career Education Prize. He has also been NSF Distinguished Teaching Scholar and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor. He has written 120 popular articles about cosmology, astrobiology, and education, two textbooks, a novel called Shadow World, and nine popular science books.