Six University of Montana computer science seniors have reached for the stars by launching an interactive website to help teach physics and astronomy.
UM students Alexander Dunn, Aaron Cameron, Benjamin Campbell, Dillon Wood, Michael Kinsey and Rebecca Faust worked on the project as part of a course taught by computer science Professor Joel Henry (Advanced Programming: Theory and Practice II). They also collaborated with Diane Friend, a lecturer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
The website allows faculty to load a solar system to the page and have their students adjust the size, density, gravity, etc. of the stars and planets to learn about orbits, habitable zones around stars and more. Site visitors also can zoom in and out and track orbits on the simulation, and anyone who wants to save their own simulations can create an account.