Feeds

MS whips lens cap off WorldWide Telescope

To reveal? The inexorable blackness of space

High performance access to file storage

Microsoft yesterday whipped the lens cap off the public beta of its much-anticipated WorldWide Telescope - a "rich Web application that brings together imagery from the best ground- and space-based observatories across the world".

Bill Gates duly trumpeted: "The WorldWide Telescope is a powerful tool for science and education that makes it possible for everyone to explore the universe. By combining terabytes of incredible imagery and data with easy-to-use software for viewing and moving through all that information, the WorldWide Telescope opens the door to new ways to see and experience the wonders of space. Our hope is that it will inspire young people to explore astronomy and science, and help researchers in their quest to better understand the universe."

The press release adds: "The application itself is a blend of software and Web 2.0 services created with the Microsoft high-performance Visual Experience Engine, which allows seamless panning and zooming around the heavens with rich image environments.

"WorldWide Telescope stitches together terabytes of high-resolution images of celestial bodies and displays them in a way that relates to their actual position in the sky. People can freely browse through the solar system, galaxy and beyond, or take advantage of a growing number of guided tours of the sky hosted by astronomers and educators at major universities and planetariums."

Sounds promising. Curtis Wong, manager of Microsoft's Next Media Research Group, joined the love-in with: "WorldWide Telescope brings to life a dream that many of us in Microsoft Research have pursued for years, and we are proud to release this as a free service to anyone who wants to explore the universe.

"Where is Saturn in the sky, in relation to the moon? Does the Milky Way really have a supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy? With the universe at your fingertips, you can discover the answers for yourself."

Suitably inspired, we decided to download WorldWide Telescope, which is available for PC or Mac. First up, we were alerted to the fact that our machine was somewhat lacking in the "Microsoft DirectX version 9.0c or later and .NET Framework 2.0 or later" department, requiring the obligatory Redmond bolt-on download hiatus.

Still, WorldWide Telescope did finally load without the need to reboot the computer or call in a techie SWAT team, and this is what you get:

WorldWide telescope landing page

Right, since this is "easy-to-use", we got straight down to it and selected Hubble images:

A menu of Hubble images

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.