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Virtual Reality Astronomy

9 Nov 2015, 07:01 UTC
Virtual Reality Astronomy
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

I don’t usually do “fiction” in my blog, but this week’s post is a reprint of something I wrote back in the 1980s. At that time I was running an early model IBM PC and using a now obsolete DOS app called Sky Globe to simulate the night sky views. It could display the view for any location, date, and time. It helped me locate specific celestial targets. Seeing the rapid pace of evolving technology, I speculated about the future of digital astronomy. This is what I wrote:
Let’s extrapolate the future of astronomy software. Continued improvements in graphics resolution, processor speed, and bandwidth seem to point in the direction of telepresence as the next quantum leap for this genre. The following scenario could be occurring on your home PC in less than 10 years…
“Computer?” “READY…” “Run PlaneTrek.” “WORKING…” As my PC linked to the USGS database I stepped onto the treadball, slipping my custom-fit VR headset into place. “A great investment,” I thought, “considering how many hours I’ve been logging lately.” That headset was pricey but well worth the cost. Ergonomically molded from the lightest composites, its cushioned presence was barely felt. In the temporary darkness of ...

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