Here are, in no particular order, some tips for WWT users. (PS: Anyone seen the new tours that went up this week, for WALL-E, the first pictures of extrasolar planets, and a farewell to the Phoenix Lander?)

Q: How can I slow down the way WWT zooms?

A1: Press SHIFT while zooming.

A2: Set the Zoom Speed in the Settings panel.


Q: My mouse is dead / missing / visiting relatives. How do I zoom?

A: Use Page Up / Page Down. You can also use + and –. Or an Xbox controller or 3d navigator.

Q: Help! I’ve been playing tours and now I’ve lost my menus!

A: In the Equinox Release, WWT plays tours in full-screen mode. To enter or leave full screen mode, press F11.

Q: How do I quit a tour midway?

A: Press ESC. You may also wish to press F11 to leave full screen mode.

Q: I’m making a tour, and I shoved an object to the top/bottom of the screen and now I can’t pick it to modify it! Those darned panels keep getting in the way!

A1: Use the TAB key to choose between selected objects in a tour slide.

A2: Uncheck the Transparent Tabs box, like this.


Q: I want to use WWT to go to a bunch of specific locations in the sky. However, my list of points are all in Galactic coordinates, not the J2000 coordinates that WWT uses. What do I do?

A: Select a different coordinate system while searching. Note that your current location will still be displayed in J2000 coordinates.


Q: How can I search for the Pled Plead Plied Pl… how can I search for something I can’t spell?

A: When you type something in the search box of WWT, you do not have to type in the full name of what you are searching for. In this case, you just have to enter ‘ple’ before they Pleiades show up in your results.


Q: I am used to other programs where you zoom in onto where the mouse is pointing, and I find WWT’s zooming mechanism confusing.

A: Get used to it. It’s cooler this way.

Q: Maybe so, but my brain is hard-wired to center-zoom on where my mouse clicks.

A: Check the Zoom On Mouse box in Settings.


Q: How can I see the Virtual Earth datasets at higher resolution?

A: Turn off elevation in the Settings panel. (And yes, this is a temporary work-around.)


Q: How do I see what the sky looks like in my current location?

A: To change your location, click on the Setup button under Observing Location in the View tab. Then check ‘View from this location’ to get the horizon inserted.


Q: Oh no! Half my screen is blue!

A: That’s the horizon. You must have the View From This Location check box checked. Uncheck it.


Q: My telescope is not in WWT’s list of telescopes, and it is not amused.

A: Enter your own telescope and camera in the magic file that controls this:

Vista: “c:\Users\<userid goes here>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\WorldWide Telescope\data\Instruments.xml”

XP: “C:\Documents and Settings\<userid goes here>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\WorldWideTelescope\Instruments.xml”

Like other data files, WWT will update this file on your hard disk when we update the same file on our Redmond servers. Make sure that you make a copy of your edited file in a different directory so that you can re-edit instruments.xml when an update happens. (Better, you can also send us an email with your edit so we can include it in our future updates.)

Q: My location isn’t on your list of locations, and I am not amused.

A: Enter your location name, latitude, longitude and altitude anywhere (including the first entry so you can see it faster) in the magic file called World Cities.txt that controls this.

Vista: “c:\Users\<userid goes here>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\WorldWide Telescope\data\places\World Cities.txt”

XP: “C:\Documents and Settings\<userid goes here>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\WorldWideTelescope\places\World Cities.txt”


If your location is in the USA or Canada, you should, theoretically, edit one of the other files, e.g. WA.txt for Washington or QC.txt for Quebec. But that is entirely up to you, as this file only affects you.

Incidentally, the tab-separated file looks something like this (and yes, this file does have entries from Ireland and Costa Rica…)

Like other data files, WWT will update this file on your hard disk when we update the same file on our Redmond servers. So keep a copy of your edits.

Q: Oh no! I’m lost! What do I do now?

A: WWT has a ‘Home’ command – select the Reset Camera in the View tab.


Q: I can’t see any images at all! Just constellation lines.

A: If your video card is up to par, this is most likely a network issue. Enter your proxy server in the Network and Cache part of the Settings tab.


Incidentally, most of the Solar System mode works fine without a connection to the internet.

Q: WWT seems to be stuck with downloading tiles. My internet connection is fine. What do I do?

A: Go to the part of the sky where the problem is (chances are, you are already there), and press F5. That refreshes the screen. If that fails, press CTRL+F5. That not only refreshes the screen, but also redownloads all tiles for that part of the view from the internet. (When WWT fails to download a tile, it does not try to do so again as it assumes the tile does not exist.) If you think the problem is affecting your entire cache for that dataset, right click on the dataset’s thumbnail and choose ‘Remove From Image Cache’ and then start browsing again.


Also note – particularly when on a slow internet connection - that you can see what tiles need to be downloaded by choosing Settings->Advanced->Show Download Queue.



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