Virtual reality (VR) technologies present exciting opportunities for astrophysics education and outreach. VR turns abstract concepts into experienceable phenomena and can increase interest and engagement with physics and astronomy. However, we still lack knowledge about how to maximise the benefits of VR when we use these technologies in public outreach programs. In this talk, we will present a case study of an astrophysics virtual reality experience at a science festival. To study the relationship between VR and visitor engagement, we developed a framework that comprises four aspects of visitor activity: immersion, facilitation, collaboration, and visualisation.This framework and our findings reveal important ways that VR supports visitor engagement at a science festival. We will finish the talk by giving recommendations for engaging the public with astrophysics both with and without VR.
|Reference to paper (DOI or arXiv)