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Microsoft Launches WorldWide Telescope

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the godspeed-jim-gray dept.

Microsoft 167

esocid writes "WorldWide Telescope, developed by Microsoft's research arm, knits together images from the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory Center, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and others. Windows users (only) can browse through the galaxy on their own or take guided tours of different outer-space destinations developed by astronomers and academics. The application allows viewing from different wavelengths such as X-ray, visible light, and hydrogen-alpha radiation. Business Week has a review and some background on the project, which has been in development for years. Google Sky beat them to the punch but Business Week opines that WWT's interface is superior."

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167 comments

but (4, Funny)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 5 years ago | (#23394572)

But can it see why kids love cinnamon toast crunch?

What's the deal with... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23394742)

all the stars having Windows Vista logos on them?

(Spooky: my catchpa is "blamer", which is what I usully call Steve The Chair-Tosser)

Re:What's the deal with... (1)

clampolo (1159617) | more than 5 years ago | (#23396106)

If Google gains any more market share we'll be able to see office chairs orbiting the Earth with it.

But Can It See Why John McCain Sounds Lame (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23395110)



on global warming [npr.org] ? McCain should find a shuffleboard court in Flordia and stay there. P.S. Are you ready for the Iran War in September when BushCo will release the U.S. strategic oil reserve? I am. My bunker has solar panels.

Re:But Can It See Why John McCain Sounds Lame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23395772)

Your solar panels wont do you much good during the nuclear winter.

Not nearly that good... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23394660)

It claims to be professional astronomer like tool. It is such an over reaching attitude that all involve in the project should be embarrassed. This is a web 2.0 application but it only runs under Windows!!
MS is a joke and continue to show that not only are they incapable of coming up with something truly innovative, they always somehow manage to make products that look great on paper but are close to useless in real life.Sigh.

Re:Not nearly that good... (4, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 5 years ago | (#23395542)

Yeah, it runs on 90% (hell, I'll be generous to you, 80%) of PCs out there. That's soooooooooo useless.

Re:Not nearly that good... (4, Insightful)

Liquidrage (640463) | more than 5 years ago | (#23395636)

I don't really know if it's actually overstated at this point. I would be surprised if a lot of astronomers didn't push their data to it. That's one of the nice features of the software. Look, the twin kecks aren't controlled by Starry Night. But this can totally replace starry night for me it looks like, and as a repository I would absoltely love to have access to real time data and images from *professionals*.

Re:Not nearly that good... (1)

Raineer (1002750) | more than 5 years ago | (#23396802)

I'm not in a position to try it at the moment, but is this really as good as Starry Night Pro?

Does it offer telescope controls as well? I know telescope control is sort of a feature that allows one to be lazy, but maybe that is why I like it :)

Web 2.0? (5, Insightful)

Thyamine (531612) | more than 5 years ago | (#23394684)

The description says it's a "Web 2.0 visualization software environment". Shouldn't that be running in a web browser then? What's with having to download and install the application itself? Being on my Mac, I can't (probably wouldn't anyway) try it out to see what happens, but that description seems a bit misleading.

Re:Web 2.0? (4, Insightful)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | more than 5 years ago | (#23394986)

Welcome to the misuse of buzzwords. Every time someone uses "Web portal", "Web 2.0", "Enterprise", "Synergy" without knowing the meaning an angels wings fall off, killing a kitten. A buzzword get picked up by the media, which then drives PR to use it as often as possible to describe their product whether it fits or not, which is then reported on by the media and the vicious cycle continues until the next buzzword hits.

Most people would consider google sky a "Web 2.0" app. It's an interactive web based application that seamlessly runs in your browser. WWT is much more similar to google earth. It requires downloading a separate application that runs autonomously from your browser and just happens to use the net for data.

Re:Web 2.0? (2, Interesting)

PunditGuy (1073446) | more than 5 years ago | (#23396032)

A browser is just a standalone application that happens to use the net for data. It can use integrated applications for things like RSS or Google Sky, or it can run standalone applications for things like RSS or WWT.

WWT is using the Web to synthesize data from multiple sources into an integrated, interactive user experience. How does that not qualify?

Re:Web 2.0? (3, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#23396224)

Welcome to the use of buzzwords.


Fixed that for you. OP's mistake was assuming that "Web 2.0" had any meaning at all.

Re:Web 2.0? (1)

Valiss (463641) | more than 5 years ago | (#23396510)

A buzzword get picked up by the media, which then drives PR to use it as often as possible to describe their product whether it fits or not, which is then reported on by the media and the vicious cycle continues until the next buzzword hits.

Whoa man, don't brick this topic!

Re:Web 2.0? (-1, Troll)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#23395292)

Yeah, the interface kind of sucks. At least with Google Sky you get a picture, and can pan and zoom it. This MS thing doesn't give me a picture at all! On my Mac, of course.

Re:Web 2.0? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23396850)

This ... thing doesn't give me a picture at all! On my Mac, of course.
Duhhh, you use an Apple product; I would have thought that by now, you'd be used to software-that-everyone-else-uses being "useless" to you.

That is, of course, excepting when you run Windows on your MAC, in which case the 15% premium you paid for your PC simply amounts to Steve Jobs' "You're Stupid" tax...

-AC

Re:Web 2.0? (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23395384)

Just dropping the note on "an old web 2.0 application" called Stellarium.
http://www.stellarium.org/

It has been around for a while and uses OpenGL to render graphics. Also, it can run in any system. Cheers.

Re:Web 2.0? (3, Funny)

OshMan (1246516) | more than 5 years ago | (#23395530)

In web applications design, whether or not actually run in a browser, it is critical to be fully buzz word compliant. This single concept is the cornerstone of any solid marchitecture, and the key to successful venture capitalist enticement.

Re:Web 2.0? (2, Informative)

ajs (35943) | more than 5 years ago | (#23395812)

The description says it's a "Web 2.0 visualization software environment". Shouldn't that be running in a web browser then? What's with having to download and install the application itself? Being on my Mac, I can't (probably wouldn't anyway) try it out to see what happens, but that description seems a bit misleading.
That's OK. You don't need their app. Since celestia [shatters.net] is free software that runs on Windows, MacOS and Linux. If you're looking for a less powerful, but easier to use tool for just looking at the sky, stellarium [stellarium.org] also runs on all of the above platforms, and is also free software.

Enjoy!

Typical Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23395868)

Google Sky beat them to the punch but Business Week opines that WWT's interface is superior.


Typical Microsoft: always coming later to the market with a superior product. That's why zealots hate them so much.

Years of anti-Vista FUD (and years of anti-XP FUD before that) have done nothing to blunt the innate superiority of the Windows platform. Why can't MS just throw teh FOSSies a bone once in a while and make something bad? Damn them! Even Apple was nice enough to play along, releasing Leoptard with all kinds of bugs (including a Blue Screen of Death!!).

Re:Typical Microsoft (0)

GRW (63655) | more than 5 years ago | (#23396726)

It is not a superior product since it doesn't run on Linux unlike Google Sky.

Telescope or Printer (2, Interesting)

shogun (657) | more than 5 years ago | (#23394686)

Ok this is weird, if I run the self extracting installer it starts to install some Xerox printer drivers instead of the WWT. I think it gets its temp files mixed with the drivers that I installed a while ago, it appears to install fine if i manually extract somewhere else and run the setup.exe...

Re:Telescope or Printer (3, Insightful)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 5 years ago | (#23395062)

You probably have a setup.exe for your printer drivers in either %WINDIR% or %TEMP% (or elsewhere in the path, but the Windows directory is sometimes incorrectly used as a temp directory because apps blindly extract to "current directory" which may end up being that one, and otherwise, the temp dir use to be used)

I've had this happen before myself, and don't really know why it happens, but believe that for some reason it can't overwrite the setup.exe it tries to replace, or the installer extracting to its temporary directory is even stupid enough to not *try* to overwrite an existing setup.exe. *shrug*

Re:Telescope or Printer (1)

ChrisCampbell47 (181542) | more than 5 years ago | (#23395264)

I recall something like this happening with the SETI@Home (BOINC? Distributed.net?) software in the early days. Running the installer would actually give you a Teletubbies screensaver. And, no, I hadn't recently tried out the Teletubbies screensaver :) It did have something to do with a clash in generic names, like "setup.exe".

A UFO fanatic writes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23394688)

Microsoft have been guilty of shafting their customers for years, now the rest of the galaxy is going to pay as Microsoft extends it's malfeasance outwards into the cosmos. What have the aliens ever done to deserve this... anal probing? Has Ballmer discussed his vengence with shareholders?

Re:A UFO fanatic writes... (-1, Troll)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#23394910)

I added some links to your comment.

Microsoft [uncyclopedia.org] have been guilty of shafting their customers for years, now the rest of the galaxy [uncyclopedia.org] is going to pay as Microsoft extends it's malfeasance outwards into the cosmos. What have the aliens [uncyclopedia.org] ever done to deserve this... anal probing? Has Ballmer [uncyclopedia.org] discussed his vengence with shareholders [uncyclopedia.org] ?
"God damned motherfucking piece of fucked up shit!!!" ~ Mother Theresa on Microsoft (Excised from Uncyclopedia's entry on Microsoft, probably by some humorless astroturfer)

"Where do you want to go today?" [google.com] ~ Microsoft

Good to see (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23394714)

FTA: "Microsoft Research is dedicating WorldWide Telescope to the memory of Jim Gray [wikipedia.org] and is releasing WWT as a free resource to the astronomy and education communities with the hope that it will inspire and empower people to explore and understand the universe like never before."

Re:Good to see (0, Troll)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 5 years ago | (#23394786)

... is releasing WWT as a free resource to the astronomy and education communities ...
It ain't free if you have to buy Windows to use it.

Re:Good to see (3, Insightful)

idiotwithastick (1036612) | more than 5 years ago | (#23395064)

It ain't free if you have to buy a computer to use it. It ain't free if you have to pay for internet service to use it. It ain't free if you have to buy food to get the energy to walk to the library to use it.

Re:Good to see (2, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#23395182)

I think you missed his point. You can buy a computer from anyone, from Dell to your local computer shop to Walmart. You can get internet service from any number of DSL, cable, dialup, or wireless ISPs.

You buy Windows from Microsoft. End of story.

Google gets it, MS doesn't. Look at the Apple laptop mix at a college campus or local coffee shop and tell me that supporting platforms other than Windows is still not important when trying to go toe-to-toe with Google.

Re:Good to see (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 5 years ago | (#23395780)

Uh, no you're reading too much into the original 12 word comment. "It ain't free if you have to buy Windows to use it." Technically you don't have to buy Windows to run it since you can hack Wine to run it. But then, you still need a computer, monitor, electricity, internet connection, etc. in order to run this program. So no matter how you look at it, the first comment is valid.

Re:Good to see (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#23396378)

I think you've just expanded the definition of the word "free" such as it has become completely meaningless.

On the other hand, it is quite common to consider something "not free" when a company ties it to one of its products. See Gillette and razors, for example.

Re:Good to see (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#23395282)

I can get free computers from a charity and free wifi from just about anywhere. The windows OEM license that came with the computer, though, is nontransferable.

Re:Good to see (1)

andytrevino (943397) | more than 5 years ago | (#23395370)

Your Windows license paid for the research that produced this tool. Why should they let those penniless open-source hippies use it?

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for openness, but can you really blame them?

Re:Good to see (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 5 years ago | (#23396000)

I'm not saying I blame them. Heck, what they're doing is great, as far as they take it. I just have a different definition of "free" than MS does.

Re:Good to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23396694)

Yeah, your opinion of "free" is "runs on Linux". You are just another OSS-crazed zealot, whining about shit and being negative towards anything that didn't come from the anuses of Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman or Hans "Wife Killer" Reiser.

This software is free. Anyone can download it and use it without charge. How you are able to use it is up to you.

Re:Good to see (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 5 years ago | (#23395722)

Let's see, I found a computer in a random office and took it home, use my neighbor's wireless access, and borrowed some bread from the baker. Not free? I don't know what you're talking about... -24601

Re:Good to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23395864)

Your handle is spot on, bud.

Re:Good to see (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#23396124)

It ain't free if you have to buy a computer to use it. It ain't free if you have to pay for internet service to use it. It ain't free if you have to buy food to get the energy to walk to the library to use it.

So what have you proven here?

That the only free view of the cosmos is by the naked eye?

Re:Good to see (4, Funny)

avandesande (143899) | more than 5 years ago | (#23396176)

Ms could cure AIDS and release the patent to the public domain and people like you would still bitch about it.

Re:Good to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23395294)

I had to buy a computer to use Linux, does that mean it's not free?

Re:Good to see (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 5 years ago | (#23395654)

Bullshit. If it costs $0, it's free. End of story.

Re:Good to see (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 5 years ago | (#23396102)

Hmm. I guess I'd be willing to agree it's available to the Windows community at no extra charge, but I still say there's no such thing as a truly free lunch.

Offtopic, though, I noticed your nick. Do you play?

Re:Good to see (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#23396282)

If it costs $0, it's free.

That's only true for sufficiently small values of zero.

This factette has been provided by the Office of Scientific Inquiry (formerly Office of Strategic Influence).

I just played with both right now (4, Interesting)

greymond (539980) | more than 5 years ago | (#23394720)

MS's may be better but it required me to download and install their app where as Google Sky is just like Google Maps and runs in my web browser. I don't know if I'd actually compare these two products considering it's web app verse a 20mg install.

That said I personally lost interest with both about 5 minutes after playing with them. I'm not really a solar-system-space nut, but I'm sure those that are will love either.

Re:I just played with both right now JUST what we (-1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#23394818)

need...

Yet ANOTHER "microsoft view of the world" (lower-casing/deprecation of ms' name INTENTIONAL...)

Re:I just played with both right now (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 5 years ago | (#23394984)

The good thing with google sky is that it runs in both their webpage and through google earth. The only difference I think is they use different projection, Mercator or something like that, on the web based version.

Re:I just played with both right now (1)

Hasmanean (814562) | more than 5 years ago | (#23395502)

20 milligram install? So that's where the missing mass of the universe is, it's the weight of all that Microsoft software.

Maybe the mass of all the software bugs has something to do with it.

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23394728)

This will give Google some competition to make Google Sky a better experience. :)

Hooray for competition.

Of course it would be even better if a 3rd company jumped into this sky bandwagon....

Re:Good (0, Troll)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#23394812)

Yes, time for a Mac only version??? right?

Seriously, even if it was donated to the public domain and free as in beer/speech, the value is tarnished when the people they claim to want to help would rather spend the money for the OS/pc ($400 bucks or whatever it is now) on something for their hobby... like telescopes, cameras, tracking equipment etc. These hobby markets are full of people that do NOT have money laying around like businesses often do.

MS did the same with robotics... no matter how noble the gesture, they COMPLETELY missed the mark with their targeted market.

Seriously, why would I begin to believe that MS is out for anything other than fucking over the consumers they pretend to want as customers?

Re:Good (4, Interesting)

Liquidrage (640463) | more than 5 years ago | (#23395924)

Take your "EVERY OS SHOULD BE FREE" tangent elsewhere.

You obviously don't do astronomy. I have single EP's that cost me $500. The worm gear in my mount costs more then XP. A simple piece of machined aluminum tubing that does nothing but serve as an adapter for me costs almsot as much as XP does. Hell, Starry Night that this will most likely replace for me costs more then XP does. Astronomy aint cheep. In software, sure there are some freebies. I've used Cartes du Ciel for a while but it is no where near as good as Starry Nights.

If this were MAC software would you be on some tangent about the cost of the OS and the hardware? I doubt it. You're just a confused fool on some tangent how they missed the target market when you're clearly not the target market.

I'm looking at this as potentially (will have to see) replacing a very expensive piece of software for me. Your complaints just aint valid.

Re:Good (1)

bledri (1283728) | more than 5 years ago | (#23396914)

Trust me. If Apple developed it there would be about as many posts about how it requires a Mac OS X hardware dongle, how evil Apple is only to support Apple hardware, that only computer illiterates use Macs, and everyone that owns anything Apple is a rabid fanboy...

Welcome to slashdot. Please check your objectivity, rationality and civility at the door.

MAC support.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23394738)

The Microsoft way ...

For Mac:

        * Microsoft® XP SP2 (minimum), Windows® Vista® (recommended) with BootCamp
        * Mac with Intel Core 2 Duo (2.2 GHz or faster) processor recommended
        * 1 gigabyte (GB) of RAM; 2 GB RAM recommended
        * NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics card with 128-MB SDRAM or recommended
        * HFS+ hard disk format (also known as Mac OS® Extended or HFS Plus) and 10 GB of available hard disk space
        * 1440 x 900 or higher-resolution monitor
        * Mouse or compatible pointing device
        * Mac OS® X version 10.2 (Jaguar) and Boot Camp; Mac OS X Leopard is recommended
        * Microsoft DirectX Runtime 9.0c and .NET Framework 2.0
        * Required for some features; Internet connection at 56 Kbps or higher through either an Internet service provider (ISP) or a network. Internet access might require a separate fee to an ISP; local or long-distance telephone charges might also apply

Re:Linux support.... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#23394778)

The Microsoft way...

For Linux ...
    * HA! Did you think we'd ever support your sorry-ass dirty GNU/hippy operating system! Stupid fsckers!

Re:Linux support.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23395674)

That is why you don't see any of the top 50 billionaires on Forbes list running *nix...
*nix is for loser mom's-basement dwellers, they don't even deserve to see a starry sky at night...

Re:MAC support.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23396040)

And that's why you don't make fun of the Fat kid [apple.com] . Because suddenly, he can become smarter and mess up your life. Keep trying though.

harrumph (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23394750)

Google Sky beat them to the punch but Business Week opines that WWT's interface is superior.
Or you could.. y'know... go outside and look upward.

Re:harrumph (4, Funny)

griffjon (14945) | more than 5 years ago | (#23394938)

Meh, I found the Outside "user experience" to be far too buggy, and if you're really fully engaged in just the looking upward part, you run the risk of wandering into an unsupported pile of sh|t -- not to mention dramatically increasing the likelihood of a fatal crash.

Re:harrumph (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 5 years ago | (#23395040)

I found the Outside "user experience" to be far too buggy.

Works fine here. I just think it's overrated.

Not sure whether it's safe, though.

Re:harrumph (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 5 years ago | (#23395014)

You must be more advanced than the rest of the human race, because as far as I know, 100% of the population can't see x-rays, hydrogen-alpha radiation, or microwaves. Ooooorrr at magnification from satellites that could set you on fire in under 0.25 seconds.

Re:harrumph (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23395908)

It's daytime you insensitive clod!

"Better" (2, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 5 years ago | (#23394766)

(not having read the article)

"WWT's interface is better"... but only on windows... So for the schools, third-world countries, etc. we've read about who are adopting Linux... Microsoft assumes they don't exist?

Re:"Better" (3, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#23394830)

"WWT's interface is better"... but only on windows... So for the schools, third-world countries, etc. we've read about who are adopting Linux... Microsoft pretends they don't exist?
There, fixed it for ya.

Re:"Better" (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 5 years ago | (#23395072)

No, neither pretends or assumes. They don't *care* they exist. It's clearly not cared for with the release of this app. Otherwise they would obviously have made e.g. a web application of it as well.

Thing they found out.... (5, Funny)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 5 years ago | (#23394768)

The sky is blue. However, this might have something to do with the OS running this system.

Re:Thing they found out.... (0, Flamebait)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 5 years ago | (#23394920)

That'll be fixed in the next service pack.

Now, this makes a good example of why open-source software is bad. You wouldn't want some high school kid - I mean hacker - to be able to change the color of the sky would you? Or, god forbid, put in options! so your cat could walk over the keyboard and hit the right keys to change the sky! think of that! a cat, changing the color of the sky!

Now, Microsoft's shared-source is a good thing. We'll release our source, so others can see how well we made the sky blue. Now, the clouds being white is a trade secret, so you can't see that. But look at the blue! And of COURSE we'll protect users from the lurking threat of hackers trying to change your sky. In fact, we'll even be offering a product next year, called "Windows Sky Spectrum Visibility Protection Protecting Protector QJF 2009" which will ensure you get a perfect blue sky no matter who's out there.

Note, though, that if you want to see the same sky as others, you'll need Windows Sky Spectrum Visibility Protection Protecting Protector QJF 2009 Journeyman Edition, whih will cost only $300 more.

If you want to keep birds in the sky safe from hackers too, you'll need Windows Sky Spectrum Visibility Protection Protecting Protector QJF 2009 Bird-observer Edition. This is very different from that competing program, called "Bird watcher"... It's clearly inferior. Trust only the best to ensure you see bird the way they should be: translucent and butterfly-shaped.

BBC review (5, Informative)

kernowyon (1257174) | more than 5 years ago | (#23394822)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7397811.stm [bbc.co.uk] which also mentions that you CAN run the Worldwide Telescope on a Mac.... as long as you run Windows on your Mac!
They quote Bill Gates who said he was hoping the project would -

"inspire young people to explore astronomy and science"

Presumably also requiring Windows is a mere co-incidence!
At least the Beeb article has the decency to mention the Open Source project Stellarium http://sourceforge.net/projects/stellarium/ [sourceforge.net]

Re:BBC review (3, Informative)

griffjon (14945) | more than 5 years ago | (#23394960)

And, don't forget Celestia, which has a great UI and lets you fly around the universe very nicely!

Re:BBC review (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23395260)

While you're mentioning open source alternatives, Stellarium is also not just quite pretty, but apparently good enough to be used in some planetaria. The soon to be release version 0.10 will add some of the features (e.g. tiled high-res downloadable photos as sky textures) that are touted as great innovations of wwt.

Wine support? (0, Redundant)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 5 years ago | (#23394858)

Apparently this is a desktop app, not a web app. Any idea if it works in Wine (or Mono, if it's managed code)? I'd try it myself but must run - it's worth a shot though.

WWT and unexpected extras (4, Insightful)

E-Lad (1262) | more than 5 years ago | (#23394928)

I never would have expected it, especially in a MS product, but the folks who put the WWT app together also blessed it with ASCOM [ascom-standards.org] capabilities, so one may use the WWT app to drive a computerized telescope mount (aka, a "goto mount").

While there are [bisque.com] other [starrynightstore.com] ASCOM-enabled apps that astronomers have been using for years to point their optics (and manage dome robotics, and focusers, and cameras), I have to say that the basic mount control in WWT is a pretty cool tip of the hat towards to astronomy community in practical terms.

Re:WWT and unexpected extras (4, Interesting)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#23395160)

I like Google Sky as a toy, but it wasn't able to replace Starry Night as a serious tool. It sounds like WWT may actually compete with the more useful applications, which is pretty cool.

Installer has problems (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23395070)

There is a problem with the installer. When I run it, the installer starts up the installer for my Dual Core Optimizer, and asks me to remove it.

Re:Installer has problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23396122)

That's weird. Anyway, Can I interest you in some magic beans?

Intrest in astronomy (5, Insightful)

loudmax (243935) | more than 5 years ago | (#23395082)

Since this product isn't available for my operating system, I can't check it our for myself, but I do hope it encourages interest in astronomy. There are valid reasons to bash Microsoft (the OOXML debacle [noooxml.org] , for example). Putting out a free-as-in-beer science project for their customers only isn't one of them. If some of Microsoft's customers get to learn more about the sky, that's a good thing. I hope they enjoy it.

Re:Intrest in astronomy (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 5 years ago | (#23396862)

I think that working at Microsoft Research is pretty neat, they get to develop all sorts of nifty apps like the interactive table/monitor, this thing, and a lot more. If it were your job, you would accept that it meant having your fancy app depend on windows, even if you would knew how to avoid that.

If some headhunter would come to you, and told you you would get a "carte blanche" to develop anything you want at microsoft research, would you say no? (that is not per se a rhetorical question )

More phony philanthropy . . . (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23395088)

This is what is commonly known as a marketing stunt. Their website for this looks like they spent a gazillion dollars in design, which makes absolutely no sense if it truly is a free, no strings attached software. Their issuing press releases to high profile mainstream media all suggest it's just another attempt to convince the world Microsoft can emulate Google. Anyone who's been around long enough knows they're just pretending.

Re:More phony philanthropy . . . (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#23396200)

This is what is commonly known as a marketing stunt

Why not try using the program before posting your "review."

Blue Sky Error (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23395332)

Uh-oh. Does this mean we can expect to see the following error message?

Your universe has stopped working and now must shut down. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Which reality (0, Offtopic)

dekropisvol (801636) | more than 5 years ago | (#23395480)

Don't like these programs, who tells me that they won't create a reality that isn't there, but what they want to make me believe. The reality is that they have killed Sadam Hussein for not paying a percent of oil income to compensate the national debt of the US of A, they will attack Iran for not paying a percent of oil income to compensate the national debt of the US of A as ordered by Henry Kissinger to let the arab oil sjeiks make a lot of money (oil needed to be paid in dollars and a percentage of their income compensate the national debt of the US of A) In 1990 went a special agent of the US of A to Sadam Hussein to tel him that the US of A won't interfere when they attack Kuwait (a former provence of Iraq), we have seen what hapend, the daughter of the Saudi embassador testified as Kuwaiti that the Iraq soldiers killed babies, even George Bush (the warmonger) said that Iraq soldiers did it, because no one was interested in Kuwait, when the babies came around the corner, the public reacted, the US of A was in war with Iraq, his son G.W. Buch jr. finished the job, Iran is now compensating the national debt of the US of A. Iran is the 2nd country who don't for the national debt of the US of A, why should they!!! The president of the US of A and his ministers will shit in their pants when Iran will distribute freely oil and get paid in another currency the dollars, they will shit in their pants because the whole american economy will collapse when this happens. That's why Iran is attacked lately, now with words, soon with military intervention, don't be happy when it happens. You will pay about 10 us dollars or more for a gallon fuel for your, and you have to work 5 days in the month only to pay for your transport to get to work, your family won't have much comfort as they used to have. The reason for this, the president of the US of A don't want to shit in his pants, so you must suffer and have a lot of american citizens killed for it. Have fun in the near future and see that this will happen.

Zoomable 3D Space Model (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#23395518)

I want to see all this space imagery available in a 3D interface that's zoomable (and rotatable and translatable) so we can fly around these bodies in 3D. Jumping to addresses. And even a 4D interface, which lets us trace a path through spacetime, with dT 0, or just staying put as the objects travel around our viewpoint.

Celestia [shatters.net] is approximately what I'm talking about, but it seems really unfit for actually visiting a planet's surface - the skins are relatively lo-rez 2D textures, and the UI is inadequate for "beaming down". And that whole UI should be navigable in realtime with not just a simple keyboard interface, but also PS3 joystick or even a Wii.

And an archive of "famous" trajectories, like all the known spacecraft missions, orbits of various bodies like comets and galactic collisions, Star Trek missions, and custom "tours" especially from astronomy schools and clubs.

Yes, I want the worlds and I want them now. But Google and MS seem bent on giving them to me, so I'm telling them just how I want it.

A bold new security direction... (0, Offtopic)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#23395764)

Why, you ask, would MS research be building a worldwide telescope? Well, they realized that hunting viruses one by one is a futile way to secure an operating system. Once the WWT finds the metavirus, they'll be able to patch that and live happily every after(assuming The Raft comes ashore well south of Redmond).

Reality check (1)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#23396056)

First off, the American taxpayer has paid for all of the data that is being used by this program. The systems that obtained it, the systems that store it, the systems that retrieve it, everything.
Second, Microsoft is 'giving away' this software for free, but it requires one to purchase their commercial product to use it to access the public's data.
Finally, this is the end result of NASA decision making from the late 1990's that resulted in NASA dumping virtually all other computing platforms in favor of Microsoft products.
If NASA wants support from the American public, then it's high time they stopped making deals like this.

Application for the LSST? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23396204)

This software might tie into The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Project that Bill Gates and Charles Simonyi personally funded with $30B...

http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/01/05/1420206&from=rss

M$ again (0)

flibuste (523578) | more than 5 years ago | (#23396342)

It's sad to see that when it's Microsoft copying an idea or a product, they get press coverage all other the place and others don't.
Stellarium is a great software and has been around for quite a while. I've never seen a mention of it in newspapers or other main stream media such as the BBC web site.
I encourage everyone to install Stellarium on a laptop, go sit in the grass outside at night and have fun finding stars and planets. And Stellarium is as free as the beer you'll likely to be drinking.

The actual purpose is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23396384)

To look for people running non WGA MS software on their PC.
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