Solar Simulation at Scale


Jason Burmark

Oral Defence Date: 



TH 935


Chair & Assoc. Prof. Bill Hsu, Assoc. Prof. Arno Puder, Assoc. Prof. Joseph Barranco


Solar Simulator at Scale (SSaS) is an Augmented Reality application that shows the relative scale of the solar system viscerally, by opening a window into the solar system at the user’s fingertips. We developed SSaS using the Unity game engine and Google’s Project Tango technology. SSaS uses the physical space around the user to place the Sun, planets, moons, dwarf-planets, and major asteroids at correctly scaled distances and sizes, in a line between two points in physical space specified by the user. The application gives users a sense of those distances and sizes as they truly are; the appearance of the celestial bodies is also displayed. SSaS also shows the orbits of the celestial bodies in two ways. The first is as the orbits are, centered at the Sun, with each planet orbiting the Sun, and each moon orbiting its planet in elliptical paths. The second is from the perspective of a chosen celestial body, showing the orbits as they would appear if the user was on the chosen body. SSaS gives users an interactive and engaging way to explore distances, sizes and orbits of the solar system using the physical space available to users; it serves as a useful tool for science education.


Science education, augmented reality, Google Project Tango, Android, Unity, solar system, orbits


Jason Burmark