I’ve seen some pretty wonderful interactive programs that allow you and your family to explore the vast regions of the universe, but nothing nearly as enthralling as Universe Sandbox. In a nutshell, it is an interactive program that allows you to explore our solar system, galaxies and the universe. It also allows you to manipulate certain variables and witness how those changes would effect the universe.
Universe Sandbox is an interactive space simulator for Windows based PCs.
Unlike most astronomy software that just shows you what the sky looks like or where the planets are, Universe Sandbox is a powerful gravity simulator. You can add another star to our solar system and watch it rip the planets from their orbits.
The free forever version allows you to explore and discover any simulation. Optionally you can upgrade to to the premium version for unlimited control.
There is a limited free version, or for even more educational fun, you can purchase the full version, either for $19.99 on the Universe Sandbox website or for $9.99 through Steam.
The only critique I have of this program is that I wish there was music playing, such as in the video, when you are working through it. Some of the simulations would probably grab my attention for longer periods of time, not causing me to speed them up, if there was music. However, it was still fun watching moons collide, Saturn getting bombarded and so much more.
Now go have fun exploring the universe!