by Jeff Greene /
The Microsoft® WorldWide Telescope is an amazing and innovative web-based application that enables your computer to serve as a virtual desktop telescope. By accessing stunning imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes around the world, viewers can choose nearly any section of the cosmos visible from Earth for a seamless exploration of the universe.
There are numerous galaxies, planets, and star clusters to explore, as well as pre-recorded Tours by world renowned astronomers and educators. Harvard Astronomer Alyssa Goodman takes viewers along on a journey illustrating how dust in the Milky Way Galaxy condenses into eventual stars and planets. University of Chicago Cosmologist Mike Gladders “travels” two billion years into the past by using a gravitational lens to bend the light from distant galaxies thus allowing viewers to see billions of more years into the past.
The WorldWide Telescope is created with the high performance Microsoft Visual Experience Engine™ and allows seamless panning and zooming around the night sky, planets, and image environments. Visible light, infra-red, x-ray, and Hydrogen Alpha versions offer a unified perspective of the same heavenly object with differing wavelengths revealing unique structural characteristics.
Finally, Vista PC based explorers can pan and zoom for aerial views throughout our own solar system, viewing the moon and selected planets in their precise positions in the sky from any location on Earth. And from any time in the past or future…
Microsoft Research is dedicating WorldWide Telescope to the memory of researcher Jim Gray and is releasing WWT as a free resource to the astronomy and education communities with the hope that it will inspire and empower people to explore and understand the universe like never before.
To experience the WorldWide Telescope for yourself, click here.