Celestia in Education

Discuss Celestia's features, adaptations and Addons for use in educational environments
Avatar
Topic author
selden
Developer
Posts: 10053
Joined: 04.09.2002
With us: 16 years 10 months
Location: NY, USA

Celestia in Education

Post #1by selden » 05.09.2006, 18:21

Celestia is often used in educational environments: in schools, planetariums, museums, public outreach and many other places, including the home.

Please use this Forum to discuss how Celestia can be used to enhance education and how Celestia can itself be enhanced for educational use.

For example, this can include the use of appropriate lesson plans and documentation, the creation or repurposing of Addons, and the creation of enhanced versions of Celestia or the addition of new features in the standard version.
Selden

Avatar
t00fri
Developer
Posts: 8772
Joined: 29.03.2002
Age: 17
With us: 17 years 3 months
Location: Hamburg, Germany

Post #2by t00fri » 05.09.2006, 18:28

While I know there has been demand for this, I am not sure whether this "seclusion" of our educational friends in a separate forum is such a good idea. I for one will most of the time skip this board like I skip Celestia scripting, for example.

Up to now, I kept myself mostly up-to-date about the educationally minded topics, since I tended to "stumble" more or less over them in the forums I typically frequent...

But never mind.

Bye Fridger
Image

Avatar
Topic author
selden
Developer
Posts: 10053
Joined: 04.09.2002
With us: 16 years 10 months
Location: NY, USA

Post #3by selden » 05.09.2006, 18:33

The hope is that this will encourage such discussions and make them easy to locate, rather than letting them get buried among all of the other postings.

I bookmarked the URL http://shatters.net/forum/search.php?search_id=newposts
so which forum a message appears in doesn't affect whether or not I see it.
Selden

Fightspit
Posts: 510
Joined: 15.05.2005
With us: 14 years 2 months

Post #4by Fightspit » 05.09.2006, 18:44

It is a good idea to do it and I think fsgreg approve of it :wink:
Motherboard: Intel D975XBX2
Processor: Intel Core2 E6700 @ 3Ghz
Ram: Corsair 2 x 1GB DDR2 PC6400
Video Card: Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB GDDR3 384 bits PCI-Express 16x
HDD: Western Digital Raptor 150GB 10000 rpm
OS: Windows Vista Business 32 bits

Avatar
t00fri
Developer
Posts: 8772
Joined: 29.03.2002
Age: 17
With us: 17 years 3 months
Location: Hamburg, Germany

Post #5by t00fri » 05.09.2006, 18:56

selden wrote:The hope is that this will encourage such discussions and make them easy to locate, rather than letting them get buried among all of the other postings.

I bookmarked the URL http://shatters.net/forum/search.php?search_id=newposts
so which forum a message appears in doesn't affect whether or not I see it.


time will show.
Image

Malenfant
Posts: 1412
Joined: 24.08.2005
With us: 13 years 10 months

Post #6by Malenfant » 05.09.2006, 19:36

t00fri wrote:While I know there has been demand for this, I am not sure whether this "seclusion" of our educational friends in a separate forum is such a good idea. I for one will most of the time skip this board like I skip Celestia scripting, for example.


That's a user issue, not a forum issue ;) - if a reader is interested in education then they'll make the effort to check this board. If they're not interested in education, then they won't read it.

Either way, I think it's much better to have this sort of thing in its own board, away from the noise elsewhere on this forum since education is something that Celestia is used for a lot in professional circles. I for one will be checking this board regularly, and I'm glad it's here!
My Celestia page: Spica system, planetary magnitudes script, updated demo.cel, Quad system

Avatar
fsgregs
Posts: 1298
Joined: 07.10.2002
With us: 16 years 9 months
Location: Manassas, VA

Post #7by fsgregs » 05.09.2006, 19:48

I am glad to see a forum dedicated to education, since focused educational tools can be highlighted here (add-ons, Celestia-ED, the Activities, certain educational scripts, etc.)

At the same time, some discussions may be just as appropriate for the general user forum or the add-ons forum.

I am certainly happy to give this all my best. :D

Frank

Avatar
t00fri
Developer
Posts: 8772
Joined: 29.03.2002
Age: 17
With us: 17 years 3 months
Location: Hamburg, Germany

Post #8by t00fri » 05.09.2006, 19:51

Malenfant wrote:
t00fri wrote:While I know there has been demand for this, I am not sure whether this "seclusion" of our educational friends in a separate forum is such a good idea. I for one will most of the time skip this board like I skip Celestia scripting, for example.

That's a user issue, not a forum issue ;)


The user aspect is indeed irrelevant. But from a developer perspective the situation looks somewhat different. It's the missed information NOT the personal interest that counts in that respect.
Image

Malenfant
Posts: 1412
Joined: 24.08.2005
With us: 13 years 10 months

Post #9by Malenfant » 05.09.2006, 20:20

t00fri wrote:The user aspect is indeed irrelevant. But from a developer perspective the situation looks somewhat different. It's the missed information NOT the personal interest that counts in that respect.


I'm quite sure that things will percolate over to the developers from here - I think Chris is also likely to check this board regularly himself too.

Additionally, one could argue that developers should be going out of their way to be paying attention to this board, since education is the primary purpose of Celestia. If you are a developer of Celestia it seems you have little excuse to ignore this board - ideally Celestia should be designed and developed with education and educators in mind, so it's wise to take the time listen to your primary audience.
My Celestia page: Spica system, planetary magnitudes script, updated demo.cel, Quad system

Avatar
Cham M
Posts: 4325
Joined: 14.01.2004
Age: 54
With us: 15 years 6 months
Location: Montreal

Post #10by Cham » 05.09.2006, 20:49

Well, since I'm now using Celestia in a new astronomy course given this semester at my institution, this new board may be very usefull indeed. I'm using Celestia mostly for my own fun at home, but from now on, I'll be using Celestia ALSO in the education business, at my work !

There's a very likely chance that many of my own students get here to ask questions or for discussion !

This is my first experience with Celestia in real world education. This semester (and the next one) will be very oriented toward Celestia.
"Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin", thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in all my life!"

Avatar
t00fri
Developer
Posts: 8772
Joined: 29.03.2002
Age: 17
With us: 17 years 3 months
Location: Hamburg, Germany

Post #11by t00fri » 06.09.2006, 09:08

Malenfant wrote:Additionally, one could argue that developers should be going out of their way to be paying attention to this board, since education is the primary purpose of Celestia. If you are a developer of Celestia it seems you have little excuse to ignore this board - ideally Celestia should be designed and developed with education and educators in mind, so it's wise to take the time listen to your primary audience.


I disagree with the formulation of this paragraph. Celestia has never been designed to be primarily an educational tool as you state it in the bold sentence above.While I am reluctant to get back into discussing this, here is a more adequate formulation:

Celestia is meant to represent a highly accurate & graphically excellent general framework of real-time space simulation.

Besides education there are (at least) equally important OTHER applications that both Chris and I are most interested in. See e.g. the program of this International ESA conference beginning of October in The Netherlands.

http://www.congrex.nl/06c30/

Look up the speaker on Tuesday, October 3rd at 3 pm by clicking on the Program!

PS: Did you ever spend one second contemplating why Celestia development has "suddenly" become so intense again this summer? ;-)
Last edited by t00fri on 06.09.2006, 11:56, edited 2 times in total.
Image

Fightspit
Posts: 510
Joined: 15.05.2005
With us: 14 years 2 months

Post #12by Fightspit » 06.09.2006, 11:52

t00fri wrote:Look up the speaker on Tuesday, October 3rd at 3 pm by clicking on the Program!


[code]15.00-15.30

?€?Celestia and it status?€
Motherboard: Intel D975XBX2
Processor: Intel Core2 E6700 @ 3Ghz
Ram: Corsair 2 x 1GB DDR2 PC6400
Video Card: Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB GDDR3 384 bits PCI-Express 16x
HDD: Western Digital Raptor 150GB 10000 rpm
OS: Windows Vista Business 32 bits

Malenfant
Posts: 1412
Joined: 24.08.2005
With us: 13 years 10 months

Post #13by Malenfant » 06.09.2006, 14:14

t00fri wrote:Celestia is meant to represent a highly accurate & graphically excellent general framework of real-time space simulation.


And who do you think would be most interested in this? Scientists may be interested in using it as a visualisation tool (though it seems to me that it's more the astronautical industry that use it to show where space probes and satellites are), but by far and away the main industry that uses it in practice are Educators. But one serious flaw in Celestia when it comes to scientific use is that it cannot directly simulate gravity, and that pretty much renders it useless for scientific simulation. You can't just stick an object near another one and see what happens, you have to pre-define the orbit, which won't be affected over time by gravity. And for all your work on your galaxy add-ons, they have no real use to a scientist because they're merely generalised galaxies. However, an educator can use those to illustrate the vastness of the cosmos to the public.

Pictures and visuals are a vast help when it comes to explaining concepts to people, and Celestia is certainly geared toward that - it's fairly people-friendly, not too technical in its use, and has several functions (e.g. scripting) that make it an excellent educational tool. Either way, if you choose to ignore educators then you're walking away from a large part of the audience that uses this program.

So I'd argue that for practical purposes, Celestia is much more an educational tool than a simulational one.
My Celestia page: Spica system, planetary magnitudes script, updated demo.cel, Quad system

Avatar
t00fri
Developer
Posts: 8772
Joined: 29.03.2002
Age: 17
With us: 17 years 3 months
Location: Hamburg, Germany

Post #14by t00fri » 06.09.2006, 14:55

Malenfant wrote:
But one serious flaw in Celestia when it comes to scientific use is that it cannot directly simulate gravity, and that pretty much renders it useless for scientific simulation.


This certainly NOT a flaw, but a deliberate decision with scientific applications in mind!

Moreover, one has to distinguish sharply that Celestia only ignores real-time gravity effects on the observer (spaceship etc). Very sophisticated and highly accurate gravitational effects among orbiting bodies are certainly included via the VSOP87 theory.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The reason is of course, that gravitational multibody interactions among EXTENDED sources of gravitational fields (masses) are VERY hard AND expensive to include CORRECTLY in a real-time simulation.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

It has been a longtime strategy of Celestia development to restrict the realization of features to those that may be implemented ~ CORRECTLY (in the long run, at least).

But...really, we had this point so many times on the menue already...

Knowledgable scientists are certainly happy that they don't have to mess around in Celestia with INCORRECT implementations of gravity. ;-)

WE ALL KNOW that:

Gravity is almost trivial to implement on the game level, of course. And also for (naive) "educational" demonstrations.
Last edited by t00fri on 06.09.2006, 15:12, edited 3 times in total.
Image

Avatar
Cham M
Posts: 4325
Joined: 14.01.2004
Age: 54
With us: 15 years 6 months
Location: Montreal

Post #15by Cham » 06.09.2006, 15:07

I agree totally with Fridger here. There's no place for gravity in the Celestia universe. Just think at the processor time that yould be needed for gravity alone. Celestia would fall on its knees with MAJOR slowdown in frame rate, Celestia wont be usable for any kind of realtime demonstration ! Gravity would lead us to a nightmare.
"Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin", thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in all my life!"

Malenfant
Posts: 1412
Joined: 24.08.2005
With us: 13 years 10 months

Post #16by Malenfant » 06.09.2006, 15:12

t00fri wrote:
Malenfant wrote:
But one serious flaw in Celestia when it comes to scientific use is that it cannot directly simulate gravity, and that pretty much renders it useless for scientific simulation.

This certainly NOT a flaw, but a deliberate decision with scientific applications in mind!

No, it's a flaw. It may be a deliberate one, but from a scientific perspective it limits the use of Celestia significantly.

I cannot place an object around another body and then have Celestia figure out its period and orbit or what see what happens to it because of perturbations from other nearby bodies.

The only things you can use Celestia for is to (a) show what the universe looks like and (b) show objects moving on pre-defined orbits that may or may not be accurate or may not even have any relation to reality (you can have a planet orbiting a 1 solar mass star at 30 AU, with an orbital period of 2 hours if you like).

I'm not saying that gravity needs to be added to Celestia here, but it is pretty clear to me that by not simulating the most important force in the large scale universe, Celestia is much more limited as a scientific tool.


Knowledgable scientists are certainly happy that they don't have to mess around in Celestia with INCORRECT implementations of gravity. ;-)


So what do these "knowledgeable scientists" use Celestia for then? For example, displaying hundreds of generalised galaxies doesn't seem to be very useful scientifically. It can be used to show a a scientist where a galaxy is, sure, but they're not going to be able to do much more with it.

As you've said, Celestia is very useful for displaying a general 'snapshot' of the universe, with generalised galaxies, predefined binary orbits and extrasolar planet orbits and worlds with realistic textures. It's getting one step closer to actual realism with the new photometric rendering code that Chris is writing. As such though, it's a brilliant visualisation tool, which makes it an incredibly good educational tool.

Heck, you've even said yourself that you'd like to see lots of alternative multiple wavelength textures in Celestia - again that's great for visualisation and education, but all a scientist is going to be able to do with that is just see what something looks like in IR or X-Rays. He can't actually do anything with that data in Celestia - he'd need to use other, much more specialised applications to actually manipulate that data.

So as a scientific tool - i.e. a tool by which to do scientific examination of data, Celestia isn't that great at all. A scientist would find the orbitsimulator program - which does include gravity - much more useful. But as an educational tool, that can be used to display the universe in different wavelengths or the placement of galaxies or extrasolar planets or the appearance of the solar system and so on, Celestia is practically unrivalled.
My Celestia page: Spica system, planetary magnitudes script, updated demo.cel, Quad system

Avatar
Cham M
Posts: 4325
Joined: 14.01.2004
Age: 54
With us: 15 years 6 months
Location: Montreal

Post #17by Cham » 06.09.2006, 15:16

Malenfant wrote:that can be used to display the universe in different wavelengths or the placement of galaxies or extrasolar planets or the appearance of the solar system and so on, Celestia is practically unrivalled.


What do you mean by "unrivalled" ? Isn't Celestia the King of all ? What other apps are doing the same as Celestia ? What about "RedShift" and "StarryNight", for example ?
"Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin", thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in all my life!"

Avatar
Topic author
selden
Developer
Posts: 10053
Joined: 04.09.2002
With us: 16 years 10 months
Location: NY, USA

Post #18by selden » 06.09.2006, 15:21

Partiview is another freeware 3D visualization tool which is often used by educators and scientists. Many of its features are complementary to what Celestia provides.


http://www.haydenplanetarium.org/hp/vo/du/index.html
Selden

Avatar
t00fri
Developer
Posts: 8772
Joined: 29.03.2002
Age: 17
With us: 17 years 3 months
Location: Hamburg, Germany

Post #19by t00fri » 06.09.2006, 16:02

To close that fruitless discussion with Malenfant from my part, let me just recall once more a most remarkable fact and success of Celestia and it's great design concept:

+++++++++++++++++++++
Chris' invitation for a plenary talk about Celestia at the 3rd International Workshop on Astrodynamics tools and Techniques by ESA, http://www.congrex.nl/06c30/, beginning of October.
+++++++++++++++++++++

I think this is a VERY clear and amazing signal by the world's space science community that Celestia has won it's place right there!

This speaks for itself and naturally devaluates many of Malenfant's above arguments.

Of course, anyone arguing against Celestia's outstanding abilities as a phantastic educational tool would be most narrow-minded! Certainly, I have never argued along such lines. The point was rather that Celestia is designed as a general accurate visualization framework rather than as a specialized tool for a particular purpose, like e.g. educational applications!

This is a crucial difference.
Image

ElChristou
Developer
Posts: 3776
Joined: 04.02.2005
With us: 14 years 5 months

Post #20by ElChristou » 06.09.2006, 17:05

Guys, again a better definition of what is Celestia should be done on the official page and at sourceforge; because of the actual "Welcome to Celestia ... The free space simulation that lets you explore our universe in three dimensions." people can expect to see gravitational sim, but as this is not the case IMO it would be good to change this first sentence...
Image


Return to “Celestia in Education”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: 1 guest