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WorldWide Telescope

WorldWide Telescope
WorldWide Telescope viewing a Hubble image of the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51).
Software information
Original authorCurtis Wong, Jonathan Fay
DeveloperMicrosoft Research, Microsoft Corporation
Initial releaseFebruary 27, 2008
Preview releasePenumbra Beta (3.0.5)
Preview release dateJune 8, 2011(age 5)
Development statusBeta
Written inC#, .NET
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows (Windows Client), Mac OS X (Intel-based) (Web Client)
Available inC#, .NET
TypeVirtual space
LicenseFreeware
Websitewww.worldwidetelescope.org

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The WorldWide Telescope (WWT) is a computer program created by Microsoft that displays the astronomical sky as maps, the 3D Universe, visualised data sets and animations. It was announced at the TED Conference in Monterey, California in February 2008. Users are able to pan around outer space and zoom as far into any one area as the data will allow. Images are taken from the Hubble Space Telescope and approximately ten earth-bound telescopes. It is possible to view the sky in many wavelengths of light. The software utilizes Microsoft's Visual Experience Engine technologies to function.. The program runs under either a Microsoft Windows or a web client based on Silverlight. The program is designed to scale from web browser to desktop to large multi-channel full dome digital planetarium.

The WWT project began in 2002, at Microsoft Research and Johns Hopkins University. Database researcher Jim Gray had developed a satellite Earth-images database (Terraserver) and wanted to apply a similar technique to organizing the many disparate astronomical databases of sky images.

As of October 2008, WWT had "1.5 million active users."


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