The 3-D Universe
A 2-D map is a great guide here on Earth—and virtually worthless for finding your way around in outer space. Take a 3-D look at mapping our solar system and universe.
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This Moveable Museum article, available as an eight-page printable PDF file, looks at how astronomers use data to create 3-D models of the universe. It discusses the following four concepts in depth, and provides a reading list for further research:
- 2-D images cannot show the depth of the 3-D universe
- our eyes alone cannot judge the distances to objects in space
- if we know an object's true brightness, we can determine its distance
- 3-D models help us understand our place in the universe
Less than 1 period
Supplement a study of astronomy with an activity drawn from this Moveable Museum article.
- Ask the class what they know about maps of space. How are they created? In what ways are they different from world maps or road maps?
- Send students to this online article, or print copies of the essay for them to read.
- Have them briefly explain each of the four concepts in their own words.