WorldWide Telescope

WorldWide Telescope Beta

Explore the universe with your computer

WorldWide Telescope could be regarded as Microsoft's direct competitor to Google Sky, but I wouldn't agree with that. View full description

PROS

  • Hightly detailed atlas for real astronomy lovers
  • Includes photo galleries for more convenient browsing
  • You can download guided tours to learn more

CONS

  • Mouse-based browsing is confusing
  • Sometimes you can see photo boundaries

Very good
8

WorldWide Telescope could be regarded as Microsoft's direct competitor to Google Sky, but I wouldn't agree with that.

WWT does contain space imagery that enables you to observe starts, planets, constellations and other celestial elements without having to buy an expensive telescope, that's true. In that sense, it's similar to Google's space browsing tool. But in my opinion, this app is much more intended for professional astronomers – or at least serious astronomy fans – rather than for people who just want to take a sneak peek at our planet as if they were taking a ride on a NASA shuttle.

Don't get me wrong here: there's nothing wrong with being a serious astronomy app. I'm just warning you in case you expect something else. Other than that, WorldWide Telescope is a great tool that all astronomy fans are going to love. It includes loads of information and also lets you download guided tours from the program itself to learn more about a certain topic.

You can freely move around the sky with your mouse, but I found this a bit confusing and soon preferred to use the image galleries under the Explore menu. These galleries were a bit disappointing though, because you can perfectly see the boundaries of the image you're viewing and so it doesn't feel like a real telescope anymore.

Worldwide Telescope is not a space browser like Google Sky; rather than that, it's a comprehensive astronomy atlas with loads of data, photo galleries and freely downloadable guided tours.

Want to see the same images that scientists at NASA use for their research or perform your own research with those images? Or do you want to see the Earth from the same perspective that astronauts see as they descend to Earth? How about taking a 5 minute break and viewing a panorama of a different city? Install WorldWide Telescope and start your explorations.

The WorldWide Telescope (WWT) is a Web 2.0 visualization software environment that enables your computer to function as a virtual telescope—bringing together imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes in the world for a seamless exploration of the universe.

Choose from a growing number of guided tours of the sky by astronomers and educators from some of the most famous observatories and planetariums in the country. Feel free at any time to pause the tour, explore on your own (with multiple information sources for objects at your fingertips), and rejoin the tour where you left off.

WWT is a single rich application portal that blends terabytes of images, information, and stories from multiple sources over the Internet into a seamless, immersive, rich media experience. Kids of all ages will feel empowered to explore and understand the universe with its simple and powerful user interface.

Microsoft Research is dedicating WorldWide Telescope to the memory of 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.

WorldWide Telescope

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WorldWide Telescope Beta

User reviews about WorldWide Telescope

  • MattyLoveless

    by MattyLoveless

    "Lots of information"

    There was a lot of information in this software and it was great to have at your fingertips, but I didn't find this easy... More.

    reviewed on January 5, 2011