WorldWide Telescope Hits the Web

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WWT is now managed by the American Astronomical Society.

Astronomers, have you missed out on WorldWide Telescope (WWT) because you’re not on a Windows computer? Good news: WWT can now be accessed via a web interface, with no dependence on your operating system! Now’s your chance to try it out.

What’s New with WWT?

WWT is a powerful application that allows users to interactively browse the multiwavelength sky as it is seen from Earth and the universe as we would travel within it. Based on feedback from the astronomy community, WWT has now expanded its support so that anyone can use the full features of this application from their web browser.

From the press release:

“WorldWide Telescope has been a mainstay in classrooms, museums, and planetariums since its launch as a Windows application nearly 10 years ago. It is a virtual sky, with terabytes of astronomical image overlays incorporating numerous all-sky surveys across the electromagnetic spectrum. It is also a virtual universe, with high-definition base maps of solar-system planets, 3-D star positions, and SDSS Cosmos galaxies. Beyond data visualization, WWT has a rich contextual narrative layer that allows its users to record their path though the program by creating and sharing “tours.”

Since the AAS took on WWT management, we have been working with the WWT developers to make the program work as well for AAS members as it does for its other 12 million users around the world. Most US astronomers today are not using Windows machines, so we’re excited to announce a new version of WorldWide Telescope for the web, agnostic of your underlying operating system.”

In addition to the web support, other new features have been added to WWT — like enhanced tour-making capabilities, through which you can now link slides and share tours either on- or offline. A number of new data sets have also been added to WWT, including:

  • Minor Planet Center bodies
  • SDSS Cosmos galaxies
  • 3D stellar positions from Hipparcos, with Gaia data on the way
  • Fermi LAT 8-year sky map
  • New Horizons Pluto data
WWT New Horizons Pluto

Screenshot of the WWT web interface displaying the New Horizons Pluto data. [WWT]

Where Can You Get Training?

If you’d like to learn how WWT can assist you in your research or outreach projects, the WWT team is here to help!

Online training sessions on a variety of topics will be offered in the near future; you can express interest by filling out this form. Planning on attending AAS 231? Additional WWT workshops and office hours at the AAS booth will be offered there; more information can be found here.

Resources:

The WWT web interface can be accessed here: http://worldwidetelescope.org/webclient/

For more ideas on how you might use WWT, check out this article: http://aasnova.org/2016/01/13/aas-publishing-what-can-worldwide-telescope-do-for-you/

If you want to stay up to date on new developments with WWT, you can join the general mailing list here: http://eepurl.com/b7T0HH