Friday, May 30, 2008

WorldWide Telescope

It seems that Google Sky has finally met its rival. Microsoft Research has just released an application that has similar functionality like Google Sky called WorldWide Telescope. By using this application, you can see through the sky by making your PC (or laptop) as virtual telescope—bringing together imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes in the world for a seamless exploration of the universe. Taken from the official site:
The WorldWide Telescope (WWT) is a Web 2.0 visualization software environment that enables your computer to function as a virtual telescope—bringing together imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes in the world for a seamless exploration of the universe.

WorldWide Telescope is created with the Microsoft® high performance Visual Experience Engine™ and allows seamless panning and zooming around the night sky, planets, and image environments. View the sky from multiple wavelengths: See the x-ray view of the sky and zoom into bright radiation clouds, and then crossfade into the visible light view and discover the cloud remnants of a supernova explosion from a thousand years ago. Switch to the Hydrogen Alpha view to see the distribution and illumination of massive primordial hydrogen cloud structures lit up by the high energy radiation coming from nearby stars in the Milky Way. These are just two of many different ways to reveal the hidden structures in the universe with the WorldWide Telescope. Seamlessly pan and zoom from aerial views of the Moon and selected planets, as well as see their precise positions in the sky from any location on Earth and any time in the past or future with the Microsoft Visual Experience Engine.

WWT is a single rich application portal that blends terabytes of images, information, and stories from multiple sources over the Internet into a seamless, immersive, rich media experience. Kids of all ages will feel empowered to explore and understand the universe with its simple and powerful user interface.
In order to use it, you will need to have this requirements:
  • Microsoft® XP SP2 (minimum), Windows® Vista® (recommended)
  • PC with Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 2 gigahertz (GHz) or faster, recommended
  • 1 gigabyte (GB) of RAM; 2 GB RAM recommended
  • 3D accelerated card with 128 megabytes (MB) RAM; discrete graphics card with dedicated 256-MB VRAM recommended for higher performance
  • 1 GB of available hard disk space; 10 GB recommended for off-line features and higher performance browsing
  • XGA (1024 x 768) or higher resolution monitor
  • Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing and scrolling device
  • Microsoft® DirectX® version 9.0c and .NET Framework 2.0
  • Required for some features; Internet connection at 56 Kbps or higher through either an Internet service provider (ISP) or a network. Internet access might require a separate fee to an ISP; local or long-distance telephone charges might also apply
It's quite big requirement, mostly for offline usage (10 GB ??). Another alternative for Google Sky and this application is Stellarium or WikiSky, which is also an open source application.

If you are interested, please use this download link (Rapidshare).