"The WorldWide Telescope takes the best images from the greatest telescopes on Earth ... and in space ... and assembles them into a seamless, holistic view of the universe. This new resource will change the way we do astronomy ... the way we teach astronomy ... and, most importantly, I think it's going to change the way we see ourselves in the universe," said astronomer Dr. Roy Gould of the Harvard Center for Astrophysics as he introduced the World Wide Telescope in partnership with Curtis Wong, principal researcher of Microsoft’s Next Media Research group and head of the project. Watch their amazing video presentation at this year's TED conference, and get a guided tour by Curtis Wong at Microsoft TechFest 2008.
The WorldWideTelescope.org website opened its doors to the public today, May 13, 2008, and I couldn't be more excited! Imagine the 3D experience of browsing Microsoft's Virtual Earth (or Google Earth) then turn around and direct your gaze at the night sky. You can even attach your computer to a motorized telescope and have it point at the same part of the sky you are touring virtually. Amazing!
I presented an "Evening Under the Stars" to our church youth group using a short video on our Solar System. We then went outside and had a star party with binoculars and telescopes pointed at the Moon's craters and Saturn while listening to music. There's an incredible sense of wonder you get when seeing those amazing rings of Saturn with your own eyes for the first time. We ended the evening by going online to check out the WorldWide Telescope and TED video. The kids and adults were in awe and just kept asking, "You mean this is for real and it's freely available on the internet!?"
You bet! Visit WorldWideTelescope.org, watch the videos, download the program for PC or Mac, and change the way you see yourself in the universe.