Using smartphone photographs of the Moon to acquaint students with non-Euclidean geometry

Hugo Caerols, Rodrigo A. Carrasco, Felipe A. Asenjo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Non-Euclidean geometry can be taught to students using astronomical images. By using photographs of the Moon taken with a smartphone through a simple telescope, we were able to introduce these concepts to high-school students and lower-level college students. We teach students how to calculate lengths of mountain ranges or areas of craters on the Moon's surface and introduce ideas of geodesics and spherical triangles. Students can see that accurate measurements cannot be obtained using flat geometry. Instead, by using three-dimensional curved geometry, estimates of lengths and areas can be computed with less than 4% error.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1079-1085
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Physics
Volume89
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021

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