Free trip to the center of our Milky Way galaxy!
Done by professional astronomers, this VR experience takes you inside one of their NASA supercomputer simulations to within a few light years of Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole lurking at the center of our galaxy. Besides the black hole, the simulation shows one of its important feeding sources: stellar winds that are blown into outer space from stars orbiting the black hole. These stellar winds slam into each other, heating the wind material to temperatures that are so hot -- tens of millions of degrees -- that they glow in X-rays. When viewed from Earth, these same X-rays are detected by telescopes in space, in particular NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. The stars and their stellar winds are seen by ground-based telescopes in Chile, among other places, but the only way to get a close up view is to go there yourself in this app!
In Galactic Center VR, fly around the few-light-year region around Sagittarius A*, seeing the orbiting stars, their stellar winds, and the X-rays they emit. Or scale down the simulation so everything fits within your VR play area, allowing you to walk around the center of our galaxy. View the whole simulation in stellar winds only, X-rays only, or both, as well as check out the contribution from just one stellar wind at a time. There is also a tutorial explaining more about the simulation, which provides non-astronomers some pertinent background information.
This app was created by astrophysicists at the Instituto de Astrofísica, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, in Santiago.