Who needs 3D when the universe is flat?

Urban Eriksson, Cedric Linder, John Airey, Andreas Redfors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


An overlooked feature in astronomy education is the need for students to learn to extrapolate three-dimensionality and the challenges that this may involve. Discerning critical features in the night sky that are embedded in dimensionality is a long-term learning process. Several articles have addressed the usefulness of three-dimensional (3D) simulations in astronomy education, but they have neither addressed what students discern nor the nature of that discernment. A Web-based questionnaire was designed using links to video clips drawn from a simulation video of travel through our galaxy and beyond. The questionnaire was completed by 137 participants from nine countries across a broad span of astronomy education. The descriptions provided by the participants were analyzed using hermeneutics in combination with a constant comparative approach to formulate six categories of discernment in relation to multidimensionality. These results are used to make the case that the ability to extrapolate three-dimensionality calls for the creation of meaningful motion parallax experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-442
Number of pages30
JournalScience Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Didactics (50302)


  • Astronomy education research
  • Discernment
  • Extrapolating three-dimensionality
  • Higher education
  • Learning challenges


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