The World Wide Telescope: A new view of the night sky article by Ian Harvey (CBC news) on WWT - not only captures the excitement around using WWT - highlighting the tour created by 6-year old Benjamin (which gets to me every time I hear it).  The article also gives a really great overview of the project as a whole and the amazing work that Curtis, Jonathan and the rest of the team have done.  I only wish Jim Gray was around to see it...you can read Jim and Alex Szalay's 2002 paper The World-Wide Telescope, an Archetype for Online Science for the background and vision...

The World-Wide Telescope (WWT) will emerge from the world’s online astronomy data. It will have observations in all the observed spectral bands, from the best instruments back to the beginning of history. The “seeing” will always good – the Sun, the Moon, and the clouds will not create dead-time when you cannot observe. Furthermore, all this data can be cross-indexed with the online literature.

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The World-Wide Telescope will also be an extraordinary tool for teaching Astronomy. It gives students at every grade level access to the world’s best telescope.

I see the WWT model as the prototype for accessing and visualizing data in many scientific domains...

The World Wide Telescope: A new view of the night sky

Microsoft imaging project will change how people see the heavens when the website launches in coming weeks
By Ian Harvey CBC News

Benjamin is only six years old, but he's already checked out a Nebula in deep space.

"I read that the Ring Nebula is 2,300 light years away," the Toronto-area child says matter-of-factly in his tiny voice as he leads the online world on his personal tour of deep space. "I don't know how far that is, but it's a very, very long bike ride."

Benjamin is indeed a lucky lad. He has had a glimpse at the stars as most have never seen them - but will soon be able to - thanks to a new web-based project that will launch in the next few weeks from Microsoft Research Labs.

The World Wide Telescope is about to change the way Ben and all the rest of us see the heavens when it launches this spring.

The World Wide Telescope: A new view of the night sky