[The following is an exact transcript of this podcast.]
If you’ve ever wanted to explore the universe, your dream is now as close as your keyboard. Because last week, Microsoft unveiled its online WorldWide Telescope. The program was developed in partnership with NASA and research institutions such as the California Institute of Technology. The WorldWide Telescope uses the best high-resolution imagery that’s been generated both here on earth and in space. The images are joined together to put celestial objects in the correct perspective and in their actual positions in the sky.
From your computer, you can peer through telescopes such as the Hubble or the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. You can roam on your own through the galaxies, get up close and personal with the planets, or take tours guided by astronomers and professors. You can choose to look through different wavelengths of light to reveal hidden structures. And you can explore the heavens not only as they are today, but as they were in the past or will be in the future. The late Jim Gray, a Microsoft computer scientist, conceived of this effort as a way to make the universe accessible to everyone. The free program can be downloaded at worldwidetelescope.org.