Bridgette Fincher- Masters in Educational Technology and Leadership. 2006

Terms and Classes

Summer '05

Fall Term '05

 Winter Term '06

Spring/Summer Term '06

Action Research Project



Celestia offers a 3D simulation of the galaxy and beyond. Everything is simulated in real time, meaning that what you see is actually happening right now. Time can be speeded up, slowed down or even reversed, giving you a glimpse into the past or the future. A demo can be run for a whistle-stop tour of the immediate solar system, including the Earth, Saturn, the Sun and other phenomenon such as star formations and gas clouds. Snippets of information appear as you travel. To get more involved, you need to take control. Using mouse and keyboard commands you can float through the galaxy at your will. Find something interesting and it can be zoomed in on, followed on its voyage across the galaxy and much more. A Tour facility lets you jump directly to any element - star, planet, asteroid or comet - and displays brief related data on-screen. More detailed information on an object can be displayed in a web page, acting as a starting point for further study. Screen grabs or movies can be saved at any point - great for use as a teaching aid. New Features: This latest release adds Eclipse shadow rendering, orbital calculations for major moons, and phase lock and chase camera modes. This means you can now view eclipses on Earth, Saturn and Uranus, and view comets, asteroids and spacecraft on the move. Various bugs have also been fixed. If you have a graphics card with less than 16 megs of memory, the Celestia package with low resolution textures is only 4.5 megabytes and will run better on your system. (

After having a first run at the Celestia program when it was first assigned, I am now able to get back to it for a second run after the blitzkrieg that was the lit review. There is such beauty to be had in the program, something they hit you immediately with on the guided tour. Not only is the whole thing striking visually but features like being able to turn on the galactic grids, designating objects to explore and go to, and even being able to switch the verbosity (which cracked me up when I saw that as an option to change) all added to the mix. It took me a bit to get over my seasickness in using the arrow buttons and doing loop-de-loos but after I got over that control issue things worked out well. It was nice, too, to ferret into the mother load site down into the lower layers and look at all the extra programs to download and use. Some of the teacher generated stuff, particularly on the inner and outer planets, I can definitely use at the end of the year. I am just amazed at what technology…both computing and astronomical, has wrought.  BAF




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