I haven't talked about WorldWide Telescope since it launched; but, since Microsoft Virtual Earth is a part of that Microsoft Research project I thought it would interest some of you that we decided to include some of the WorldWide Telescope into Virtual Earth. Did you know that the Virtual Earth data centers host all of the data for WWT and that the actual Earth in WWT are Virtual Earth tiles? Well, now you do.
So, what did we take from WWT? The constellations. More specifically, the stars. In the latest release of the Virtual Earth 3D control, we included the accurate placement of stars in space. The stars are drawn leveraging the Hipparcos catalogue and differ based on magnitude and color. The Hipparcos (HIgh Precision PARallax COlletion Satellite) catalogue is the de facto measurement of the stellar parallax and the proper motion of the stars.
Yes, I had to look up what the heck Hipparcos is, but don't you feel smarter now? And, maybe now you know something about Virtual Earth that others don't. As a reminder, you can download WorldWide Telescope for free online.