Virtual reality technology can play a big role in the science department. It allows regular users to see things which would otherwise remain inaccessible to them. Scientists at Radboud University in The Netherlands let VR enthusiasts the inside of a black hole. This is a first in history, albeit a major step forward for mankind.
Exploring Black Holes in VR
The Dutch scientists have come up with a way to recreate a black hole in virtual reality. This is done by using astrophysical models of Sagittarius A and creating a 360-degree VR simulation with this information. Users can view the black hole through most VR headsets available on the market today. This new experiment will only help more people understand black holes better, as they still remain a big mystery to the masses.
Moreover, this approach can get more people excited about astrophysics. There appears to be a genuine decline in interest in science overall, which is never a promising sign whatsoever. This VR simulation creates a realistic view of the direct surroundings of the black hole in question. Since it is impossible to physically travel to a black hole, a VR simulation is the closest most people will get.
Author Jordy Davelaar adds
“The visualisations that we produced have a great potential for outreach. We used them to introduce children to the phenomenon of black holes, and they really learned something from it. This suggests that immersive virtual reality visualizations are a great tool to show our work to a broader audience, even when it involves very complicated systems like black holes.”
It is very difficult to make people picture a black hole. It is a giant mass of nothingness which has the power to destroy everything in its path. Even so, the mental image people will describe is never the same for multiple individuals. As such, these accurate renderings can provide valuable insights. It is a major step forward for mankind, albeit one has to hope a black hole never comes to our Solar System.
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