Hello - I'm the WWT Data Curator, and welcome to the WWT Data Blog. WWT is a collaborative project, and needs your suggestions, complaints, and help. If you can offer any assistance to us to make a dataset available through WWT, we want to know!

WWT has many types of datasets, including

  • Sky Surveys - partial or full maps of the sky, usually in a specific wavelength. For example, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey is a map of nearly a quarter of the sky in optical light.
  • Studies - High resolution images of specific astronomical objects and/or regions of the sky. For example, a Hubble image of the Orion Nebula is a study.
  • Catalogs. Searchable lists of stars, galaxies, or other objects. For example, the Messier or IC or NGC catalogs.
  • Panoramas. 360 degree views. For example, those taken by the Mars Explorer Rovers Spirit and Opportunity.

On top of these datasets we have other entities like tours and communities.

You may have noticed that WWT displays data equally well at all parts of the sky, including the poles. You can actually see the North Star!

Polaris, a.k.a. North Star, as seen in the WorldWide TelescopeThe region around the Northern celestial pole as viewed in the WorldWide Telescope. The bright star is Polaris (the North Star). The

This is possible because WWT does NOT use equirectangular or any cylindrical projection to represent the sky. If we did that, then things would look very stretched/radial/weird at the poles. We use a projection system called TOAST (Tessellated Octahedron Adaptive Spherical Transformation) which approximates a sphere as a recursively subdivided octahedron and then folds it out into a square.

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    Originally posted by dinos. Migrated to new blog location by derickc.