Think of it as a virtual star ship. A classroom without walls, whose limits are the edges of the universe. A bit hyperbolic, maybe, but for amateur astronomers Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope (WWT) lives up to the hype. This free virtual telescope from Microsoft’s Next Media Research gives anyone the ability to view compelling images from any section of the heavens. When using WWT, you’re not remotely controlling a real telescope, however. Instead, the tool shows you full-sky imagery (captured at a variety of wavelengths, from radio to gamma ray) from a number of observatories, both earthbound and space-based.
So, back to the interesting things. You drag around the sky. There’s Mars. There’s the big dipper. There’s Betelguese. Etc
Some things regarding WWT :
1.It’s dedicated to Jim Gray, the Microsoft Researcher who sailed out of San Francisco Bay in 2007 never to be heard from again. He started this project with a paper back in 2002.
2. It runs only on Windows and Mac.
3. There are narrations and tours. I believe you can even add your own, so you can leave a little tour for your kids to see the sky in a new way.
Why is this important ?
It’s human to look out at the sky and wonder what’s going on out there. This takes us a LOT further into our understanding of the fact that we live in a universe not in a ‘world’.