Friday, February 29, 2008

worldwide telescope

i'm super excited about the upcoming worldwide telescope (!! apparently this interactive service will be better than google sky, starry night, or stellarium for allowing students and regular folks to pan thru space ad discover our real place in the universe with the eyes of nearly any telescope you choose! from my understanding, you will be able to download actual images from any astronomical archive data base that participates... like the prototype,

an announcement was made about the worldwide telescope at the TED conference, so i'll be looking for more news soon!

here's an abstract from a talk last year given by Jonathan Fay

The WorldWide Telescope (WWT) project is designed to be an extensible learning and exploration environment which integrates hyperlinked rich media narrative with a seamless multiple survey virtual sky to enable guided and unguided exploration of the universe. WWT is a collaboration between Next Media Research (Principal Researcher and group manager Curtis Wong, Principal Research Software Design Engineer Jonathan Fay and Jina Suh Research Intern), Alex Szalay at Johns Hopkins University, Alyssa Goodman at Harvard's Center for Astrophysics, and Frank Summers at Space Telescope Science Institute.

The vision for WWT began in 1993 Curtis' production of a CD-ROM called "John Dobson's Universe" which was never completed but featured a number of narrated tours within a virtual sky and included a talk that John Dobson recorded at Table Mountain in 1993. Curtis worked closely with Jim Gray and Alex Szalay in 2002 to develop the SkyServer Website to facilitate public access to the images and data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. SkyServer was always conceived of as the foundation towards building the World Wide Telescope. In early 2005 Curtis developed the collaborations with Harvard and STSCI and hired Jonathan Fay in late 2005 to utilize his experience in astronomical imaging and building interactive visualizations for TeraServer to architect and build the technology for WWT.

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