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Physics and astronomy activities using virtual and augmented reality

  • CalendarAvailable on request
  • Clock outlineUp to 2 hours

Immerse yourself in incredible settings such as the International Space Station or explore planets in our solar system, black holes and supernovae on the table in front of you using our virtual and augmented reality resources.

Virtual Reality allows us to explore incredible places and experience amazing things, in an immersive way. You can explore the International Space Station, as you walk around it, interact with equipment inside and find out more about how astronauts live in space. Or maybe you want to explore Diamond Light Source, a particle collider based here in the UK, which is normally inaccessible to the public.

Augmented reality allows you to see virtual 3D objects in the real world. Just like the popular Pokemon Go, you can explore planets in our solar system, black holes, supernovae and much more, which appear on the table in front of you.

The apps are available to download for free in the app store and can be used as a classroom activity or for families at home. All you need is an android smartphone or tablet with access to the internet and in some cases, a VR headset. The activities available include:

Sam Explores Our Universe

This app works with a free story book. The story follows our brave astronaut Sam as they travel through our universe, learning more about black holes, supernovae, stars and much more. You will be able to explore and interact with 3D models of the things that you will find in the book, such as pulsars, galaxies and the Solar System. You can look around the objects, click on parts of them to learn more about them and even interact with them.

This is a project by the Faulkes Telescope Project and Science Made Simple, supported by the Royal Astronomical Society.

International Space Station (ISS) Tour VR

Explore the inside of the International Space Station in this Virtual Reality app. 360 degree photos, taken by astronauts onboard the space station, allow you to explore and immerse yourself inside the ISS, allowing you to experience what it's like to be an astronaut.

With objects inside to click on, the app will let you learn about equipment on the space station as well as some of the functions and operations on board.

Gaia Quiz

Test your knowledge of astronomy and the European Space Agency mission Gaia to see if you can beat the £600 million satellite. There are three quizzes to test your skills.

Gaia Alerts VR

Discover and explore the latest alerts from the Gaia mission in Virtual Reality. Look around the sky and spot the latest supernovae and variable stars that have been discovered by the European Space Agency mission, Gaia.

VR Science Tours

This science facility source is the UK’s national synchrotron science facility, located in Oxfordshire. Using intense beams of light, scientists can study the structure and properties of a wide range of materials or microscopic levels. This app allows you to explore the science facility in 360 degree virtual reality using your mobile phone and a VR headset.

This app and project are supported by the Institute of Physics, Science and Technology Facilities Council and the Faulkes Telescope Project.

Supernova Simulator

Create your own supernova, choosing how big it is, what type of supernova it is and other properties. Then, watch it explode and find out how powerful your supernova was. Can you create a supernova that could destroy the Earth?

Find out more

For more information about the activity, please visit our website.

About the organiser

This activity is organised by School of Physics and Astronomy. Contact Matthew Allen at for more details.

How to book

Apps for this activity can be downloaded from the android app store.

TicketThis activity is free

GlobeAccess the activity resources online


  • TickFamilies
  • TickKey stage two - ages 7-11, years 3-6
  • TickKey stage three - ages 11-14, years 7-9
  • TickKey stage four - ages 14-16, years 10-11

Teacher supervision is required.

Curriculum themes

  • TickMathematics and numeracy
  • TickScience and technology
  • TickDigital competency

Activity type

  • TickActivity
  • TickOnline resource


  • TickExtracurricular or independent learning
  • TickSupporting curriculum themes

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