Travel back in time and explore space with new virtual reality app

A new virtual reality app that allows users to travel back in time and see the universe before the sun was even born was launched this week.

The Cosmic Stroll app allows users to travel through space and see the universe from today to several billion years in the past.

The app uses astrophysics and cosmology science research developed at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation at the University of Portsmouth using the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which has created the most detailed three-dimensional maps of the universe ever made.

Using your mobile phone, users can board the Cosmic Stroll’s spaceship to make their very own space walk, exploring the universe and travel back in time to when planet Earth did not even exist.

The Cosmic Stroll app was created by staff members from the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation and the School of Computing, led by Claudia Maraston, Professor of Astrophysics, who said: “I really wanted to make our scientific results available to the public by using real science and not computer simulations. I wanted to allow the public and myself to take a walk in space and back in time around the universe.”

I really wanted to make our scientific results available to the public by using real science and not computer simulations. I wanted to allow the public and myself to take a walk in space and back in time around the universe.

Professor Claudia Maraston, Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation

The app features a virtual exhibition that talks about the background of the team and explains the fundamentals of how the light that is captured from distant galaxies is related to distance and travelling back in time.

After the virtual exhibition, users can venture out into space and get up close and personal with thousands of galaxies.

The app uses data containing information on the scientific characterisation of galaxies and their cosmic distance. The scientific data was then translated into a software that could create a virtual reality environment.

The original prototype of the app was created by a student from the School of Computing. The latest version of the app has been in development for four months. Blue Donut Studios developed an enhanced version of the app using new virtual reality technology.

The app was launched last week at the Future Technology Centre and is available to download now for iOS users.

More information about the app and download links are available at the Cosmic Stroll website.

 

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