One of the best free programs to come out in a while is the World Wide Telescope. Microsoft WorldWide Telescope is a virtual telescope software that enables you to explore the universe with the help of interactive star charts and high resolution imagery from some of the best land and sky based telescopes.
You don’t have to download any software to your PC to enjoy what Microsoft Research’s WorldWide Telescope has to offer – it’s now available online as a web application! This is good news for folks running non-Windows operating systems who were previously unable to use this amazing tool which lets your computer function as a virtual telescope while bringing together imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes in the world.
The new WWT web application uses Silverlight 2.0 to display the satellite imagery within your browser and it offers most of the features of the desktop application, including the following:
- Access to hundreds of terabytes of sky, earth and planet data
- Ability to navigate seamlessly through 3D spherical environments
- Finder Scope to quickly identify astronomical objects
- Instant thumbnail previews of tens of thousands of popular astronomical objects
- Access to billions of objects in web-based astronomical catalogue
- Loading tours, images and other WorldWide Telescope data files on local machine
- Real-time positions of planets and moons
- Move forwards and backwards in time 2000 years
- View guided tours (without 3D planets)
- Browsing local user collections
- Virtual Observatory Cone search/registry look up and SIMBAD search
You can look up skycharts from various spots in the world, such as White Plains, NY or Westchester County! It is pretty cool. See more information here: http://www.worldwidetelescope.org/Home.aspx