Home > News > WorldWide Telescope Application Now Universally Accessible Via Web Browser
WorldWide Telescope Application Now Universally Accessible Via Web Browser Posted by Guy Pirro on 10/22/2017 7:33 PM
WWT is a scriptable and interactive way of browsing the multi-wavelength sky. WWT can be run either as a desktop application or from within an internet browser. And, of interest to researchers especially, it's an incredibly useful way to visualize and contextualize astronomical data. This is a screenshot of the WWT web interface displaying the New Horizons Pluto data. (Image Credit: WorldWide Telescope, AAS)
Have you missed out on WorldWide Telescope (WWT) because you're not using a Windows computer? Good news -- WWT can now be accessed via a web interface, with no dependence on your Operating System. WWT is a powerful application that allows users to interactively browse the multi-wavelength sky. 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.
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, 3D 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 American Astronomical Society (AAS) took on WWT management a couple of years ago, it has 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 the AAS is excited to announce a new version of WorldWide Telescope for the web, agnostic of one's underlying operating system.
WWT for Research
If you thought WWT was just for education and outreach, think again. Here are just a few things you can do with WWT to advance your astronomical research:
1) Put surveys into context, on top of more than 40 different all-sky images, spanning the electromagnetic spectrum.
2) Perform literature searches from the sky.
3) Compare images and catalogs at different wavelengths, on-the-fly in seconds.
4) Show your own online data to the world, in an API that allows users to see it on the sky in their browsers.
5) Communicate with colleagues and learners about the sky using interactive tours of your data and ideas.
WWT for Education.
WWT is an incredibly powerful visualization tool that can be used to bring context to lesson topics in K-12 education as well as university classes. It can be used in a lecture setting to talk about an enormous variety of astronomy topics -- from Spitzer data sets to phases of the Moon -- and in a lab setting to encourage students to explore on their own and ask questions.
WWT for Fun
Hopefully you've already been convinced by the descriptions of WWT's capabilities that it's worth checking out. If you don't have a specific goal in mind, you can visit WWT to simply browse the universe -- examining anything from planets to nebulae, from constellations to the CMB, from supernovae to galaxy clusters. If you want a little more guidance, try one of the available guided tours. If you're feeling adventurous, try to make your own.
On January 4, 2016 the Council of the American Astronomical Society voted to make the AAS the institutional home of WorldWide Telescope. The American Astronomical Society, established in 1899 and based in Washington DC, is the major organization of professional astronomers in North America. Its membership of about 7000 individuals also includes physicists, mathematicians, geologists, engineers, and others whose research and educational interests lie within the broad spectrum of subjects comprising contemporary astronomy. The mission of the AAS is to enhance and share humanity's scientific understanding of the universe.