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Paper: Astronomy Simulations in the Open Source Physics Collection
Volume: 531, ASP2020: Embracing the Future: Astronomy Teaching and Public Engagement
Page: 353
Authors: Timberlake, T.
Abstract: Astronomy is a subject that deals with enormous spans of time and vast distances, as well as abstract theoretical principles. Students in introductory astronomy courses may have a hard time visualizing these expanses of time and space, or seeing how the abstract principles connect to observable phenomena. Computer simulations can help to solve this problem by providing dynamic visualization of astronomical systems on a variety of length and time scales. In addition, simulations can incorporate multiple simultaneous perspectives to show how astronomical theories reproduce observable effects. Students can work with simulations in the context of guided inquiry activities (including self-paced online activities) to gain deep understanding of important astronomical concepts. I will demonstrate a few astronomy simulations from the Open Source Physics collection ( and mention several more that are useful for teaching introductory astronomy.
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