Explore the Final Frontier through the eyes of Australia’s famed astronomers

Friday 11 August 2017

Boy using SciVR headset

Almost one thousand headsets have been sent to homes around Australia for a virtual reality tour of the Universe.

In summary

  • Associate Professor Alan Duffy and Dr Katie Mack use custom designed 3D headsets and a free-to-download App, SciVR, in National Science Week events blending live talk with virtual reality

Take a virtual tour of the Universe with renowned astronomers Katie Mack and Alan Duffy, who use the latest technology to guide budding scientists through the cosmos as part of National Science Week.

Dr Katie Mack from the University of Melbourne and Swinburne's Associate Professor Alan Duffy use custom designed 3D headsets and a free-to-download App, SciVR, to allow participants to experience their own personal tour of the solar system in an event blending a live talk with virtual reality.

The 13 August event at the State Library sold out within a day. The 17 August event set down for the Mountain Goat Brewery also sold out, but would-be astronomers can still take part.

Almost one thousand headsets have been sent to homes around Australia, and many more people have already downloaded the SciVR app which can work without headsets.

For those at home, tune into the live stream of the broadcast with Associate Professor Duffy and Dr Mack while running your SciVR app and you’ll have the same experience as those at the Brewery.

Participants will learn how Australian astronomers are leading the world in mapping our galaxy, communicating with robotic explorers of the solar system and unlocking a new window into the invisible using gravitational waves to study colliding black holes.

“Immersive Science is all about taking astronomy from the lecture hall and out to where the public is,” Associate Professor Duffy says.

“I love that with SciVR the latest astronomy can be explored anywhere, from a library to a brewery, and all you need is your phone.”

Dr Mack says the event is aimed at inspiring an interest in our Universe and hoped participants would come away with a new awareness of the latest science and a passion to learn more.

“We can't send the whole audience to space, unfortunately,” says Dr Mack.

"But we are trying to bring them just one small step closer than they'd get with the usual images-on-a-wall approach. We hope everyone will enjoy the journey!"

The Dr Mack and Associate Professor Duffy events are part of an ‘Inspiring Australia’ initiative supported by the Australian Government as part of National Science Week with further contribution and support from Swinburne, OzGRav, and CAASTRO.

The brewery event will be streamed online allowing remote audiences to enjoy the experience. Just head to www.scivr.com.au for links to social media platforms showing it.

“National Science Week provides an important reminder to us all about how critical science is in our daily lives and events like Immersive Science ensure that we can get that message out to new audiences across the nation,” says Associate Professor Duffy.