WorldWide Telescope Moves On
Written by Sue Gee   
Tuesday, 23 February 2016

WorldWide Telescope, a set of applications that display astronomical data allowing visual navigation through a three-dimensional Universe, has been formally adopted by the American Astronomical Association.

 

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Announcing the move from its original home, Microsoft Research, to the AAS, Jonathan Fay, its principal software architect stated:

With WWT’s new life in this long-established organization, we can work together to inspire scientists, heighten scientific understandings, and enrich our experience of the universe.

The project, which dates from 2007, was open sourced by Microsoft last year and now has three GitHub repositories - for the WWT Windows Client, WWT Web Client and the WWT website. 

This video answers the question "What Can WorldWide Telescope do for me?" and shows how it has been used by professional astronomers, educators, planetarium staff and astronomy enthusiasts for various purposes.

 

 

A post on the AAS site puts the move in a very positive light:

WWT already connects to a wealth of openly available online data sets, as well as to ADS, SIMBAD, NED, and Wikipedia. WWT is a helpful tool for researchers due to its ability to fluidly connect images to each other and to literature. It's also a rich resource for educators, given the wealth of opportunities it offers for new ways to learn and communicate about the universe. But WWT's full potential is even greater than its current use — and this potential can be realized now that WWT has been made open source and the community can be involved in a new and more expansive way.

Microsoft will continue to contribute to the WWT effort by hosting data in its Azure cloud and according to Fay the migration to Azure is another important step for the project:

If Azure had been available when WWT was in development, it would have accelerated the project and its deployment; Microsoft Azure allows us to manage our global users and easily provision resources for new projects and collaborations as needed. With Microsoft Azure, we can keep up with cutting-edge technologies, software, and data—free from the limitations of physical server management.

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For developers who want to become involved WWT has tools to enables the customization of data for both its Windows Client and Web Control.  

 

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 24 February 2016 )