Saturday, March 01, 2008

WorldWide Telescope at TED

I've been reading about Microsoft's upcoming WorldWide Telescope for a few weeks on various blogs, but I wanted to wait to talk about it until more information was made available at last week's TED conference in Aspen. Fortunately they have released this video of the 7 minute TED presentation much more quickly than they usually do with TED talks. There's a high-def version of this video that you can download here.

WorldWide Telescope will be available this spring as a free download (but I believe it will only run on Windows machines). WWT will be similar to the "sky" extensions for Google Earth, but whereas Google Earth in sky mode looks and feels kludgey to me, Microsoft's new effort is described as "seamless" and "elegant" in the way it stitches together astronomical imagery from the web and allows you to explore and to experience it and create "tours." It looks to me very much like the interface of the free program Stellarium that I often use for demos, but cleverly linked to a huge online database of imagery.

I'm looking forward to trying out WorldWide Telescope when Microsoft releases it. Based on the rave reviews of a lot of knowledgeable people, I'm sure it's good, and I hope it's great.

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