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Sneak Peek at Microsoft's WorldWide Telescope

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the eye-on-the-sky dept.

Space 120

Ted.com has a great sneak peek at Microsoft's new WorldWide Telescope project. In this video, presented by Roy Gould and Curtis Wong, you are able to see a combined view of satellites and telescopes from all over the planet and nearby space. The compiled image is rendered using Microsoft's new high-performance "Visual Experience Engine" that allows users to pan and zoom across the night sky seamlessly.

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not first post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22614842)

Nothing to see here, move along!

who's watching who? (2, Funny)

tolworthy (1205778) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614846)

why don't they just combine it with DRM and get the full packages - watching us, watching them, watching us...

Re:who's watching who? (5, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614964)

Translation: I wish this had DRM so I could karma whore some anti-MS points.

Re:who's watching who? (0)

rozz (766975) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615870)

Translation: I wish this had DRM so I could karma whore some anti-MS points.
Well, since the GP only got karma-neutral Funny points and you got Insightful ones, I think a further translation is needed:
"I wish more ppl would try to unjustifiably slap MS so I can piggyback on their karma-whoring."

P.S.
if I get any karma-points, an even further translation will be needed ... stay tuned.

Question: (0)

Smenj (648240) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614850)

How is this different from Google Sky?

Re:Question: (3, Informative)

rindeee (530084) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614860)

From Wikipedia's entry on Google Sky (which sites two articles on the matter): Google Sky is believed to be less expansive than its competitor WorldWide Telescope from Microsoft, which is regarded as significantly better.

Re:Question: (4, Informative)

Beale (676138) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614982)

Or, you know, you could use Celestia.

Answer (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22614882)

How is this different from Google Sky?

Google sky is from Google and the worldwide telescope is from Microsoft.

hth

Rich-media-immersive-experience! (3, Funny)

comm2k (961394) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614900)

Q. What is WorldWide Telescope?
A. The WorldWide Telescope (WWT) is a rich visualization environment that functions as a virtual telescope, bringing together imagery from the best ground- and space telescopes to enable seamless, guided explorations of the universe. WorldWide Telescope, created with Microsoft®'s high-performance Visual Experience Engine(TM), enables seamless panning and zooming across the night sky blending terabytes of images, data, and stories from multiple sources over the Internet into a media-rich, immersive experience.
Couldn't find the same about Google Earth (Sky):

Explore the sky with Google Earth

Whether you're an astronomer or stargazer, Sky in Google Earth brings millions of stars and galaxies to your fingertips.

Re:Question: (5, Informative)

MickDownUnder (627418) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614952)

I believe it's using the Photosynth engine [ted.com] . I think the beauty of photosynth is that it is a self organising system for seamlessly navigating between photographs that gives you the illusion of animation. Microsoft's system can crawl web pages for material to add to the collage. So it does seem to be better" [channelregister.co.uk] than google sky as this system will be allowed continue to collect images published in astronomical papers and add these pages to the world wide telescope system.

Make no mistake about it Photosynth is a world changing technology.

Re:Question: (1)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615190)

Make no mistake about it Photosynth is a world changing technology.

Yes, it is, but it isn't new. It's nice that Microsoft has a cleaner and better implementation of it now and that better hardware makes it look smooth, but it's been around for nearly as long as images and networks.

Re:Question: (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22615464)

Could you give an example?

I've been working with images and networks for a long time, and I've never seen anything that could even claim to do what Photosynth does automatically and seamlessly.

Saying that computers *could* do something for a long time is nothing like having a product that actually does those things through a seamless user experience.

Re:Question: (1)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615920)

I've been working with images and networks for a long time, and I've never seen anything that could even claim to do what Photosynth does automatically and seamlessly.

These patents will likely be challenged if Microsoft tries to enforce them; I'm sorry, but you'll have to do your own prior art searches.

Saying that computers *could* do something for a long time is nothing like having a product that actually does those things through a seamless user experience.

That's quite right. And their implementation is quite nice. But good engineering and coding doesn't warrant a dozen patents.

Re:Question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22616372)

These patents will likely be challenged if Microsoft tries to enforce them; I'm sorry, but you'll have to do your own prior art searches.
You're the one making the claim that this has been done before. Either prove it, mention a company/product, link to something or simply don't say anything.

Re:Question: (1)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22618446)

You're the one making the claim that this has been done before. Either prove it, mention a company/product, link to something or simply don't say anything.

Why? Is this a court of law? A peer reviewed journal?

I don't give prior art for patent claims in public; it just makes life of the patent trolls easier, Mr. Anonymous.

Re:Question: (1)

fmobus (831767) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615238)

Taken from the web, eh? I hope they consider copyright issues then...

Finally! (1)

remmelt (837671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22616228)

> Make no mistake about it Photosynth is a world changing technology.

Finally! The cure for cancer? No? What, solves world hunger? Peace for mankind? Not even a better aspirin? What you say, a neat imaging trick? Your world must be very small.

Re:Question: (1)

Screaming Cactus (1230848) | more than 6 years ago | (#22616266)

From what I saw in the video, it looks no different the Google Sky, yet the guy sounds like he thinks it will bring a revolution. It's just another Microsoft copy of someone else's idea.

Re:Question: (1)

multi io (640409) | more than 6 years ago | (#22616964)

So it does seem to be better" than google sky as this system will be allowed continue to collect images published in astronomical papers and add these pages to the world wide telescope system.

Well, Google Sky loads stuff off various servers all the time as you pan and zoom into the map, just like Google Earth and, probably, MS Virtual Earth or Nasa WorldWind do. So, with the buzzwords stripped, I can't find anything substantial in your post about what's so different, let alone "world changing", in WWT. But maybe that's just me.

Re:Question: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22614998)

Well, it's from microsoft, so there's at least three things:

1) windows-only (or at the VERY least, windows-centric)
2) buggy
3) a couple of years late

Re:Question: (1)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615154)

Why, isn't it obvious? It's Windows-only. As far as Microsoft is concerned, that's a big advantage. For everybody else...

Google Sky vs Microsoft vs Open Source (1)

boot_img (610085) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615274)

This MS product does indeed sound very similar to Google Sky.

I think the difference between both of these and e.g. Stellarium/Celestia is the database that sits behind them. Usually "planetarium" software consists of a bunch of points for stars, with perhaps a few objects represented by pixels. You can upload images but you have to do it yourself.

In contrast, Google Sky (and presumably the MS telescope) show you pixels from large databases such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The latter covers roughly 1/4 of the whole sky.

Google is heavily involved with the LSST [lsst.org] project.
MS has been involved in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey for quite some time via the late Jim Gray [sdss.org] .
Its great for astronomy that both of these companies are competing in an area with little prospects for "monetization".
 

Re:Question: (0, Flamebait)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615430)

How is this different from Google Sky?
Google's doesn't suck.

Re:Question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22616634)

You're saying this thing sucks? Dude, why don't you set aside your narrow mindedness for a while? Oh, then again, this is Slashdot - morons like you are the norm here.

Re:Question: (1)

multi io (640409) | more than 6 years ago | (#22616060)

How is this different from Google Sky?

Well, maybe the database is bigger. Or not. Oh, and you can switch the view to infrared and radar.

Re:Question: (1)

nysus (162232) | more than 6 years ago | (#22616834)

Microsoft will give this technology away, which requires their software which you have to purchase additional Windows server software for. Google will give their technology away and as a way to build their brand and reputation and your trust in them so they can more effectively deliver ads to your eyeballs.

oK... (-1, Flamebait)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614854)

let the bashing begin. I mean, it's MS and this is /. Hmmm... what could we bash them for this time.. Oh . I know... Nahhh... there is no Linuzz or Abble telescope...

Hmm... let me see... Oh, I know! ***IF**** Abble could make one it would be better. I mean, it would be shining white and **cool***.

Ohh...or better, let's bashing them by not making it OS!

Re:oK... (4, Funny)

I confirm I'm not a (720413) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614878)

D00d, I luv the way you say "Linuzz" instead on "Linux", and "Abble" instead of "Apple" (even if I don't really get "Abble") but you missed the obvious and oh-so-original "Open Sores" line that cracks me up everytime.

Back on topic, Google [google.com] have already done this, Celestia [shatters.net] have already done this (and Celestia is free software - sorry, "open sores"), so what's *not* to bash about Microsoft (damn, that should be M$) arriving late to the party? What does Microsoft bring to the party that we don't already have - in spades - already? Fanbois?

I know, I shouldn't feed the troll, but it was so cute, sitting there under the bridge...

Mod parent up (0, Offtopic)

The Iso (1088207) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615020)

This is funny, not a troll.

Re:oK... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22615064)

Your entire posting history just about consists of articles whining about MS-bashing.

You deliberately pollute every single MS-related thread on slashdot with off-topic flamewar-creating insults, that makes you a troll.

These days the number of posts whining about MS-bashing far outnumber the number of MS-bashing posts ... so please, just fuck off, thank you.

Re:oK... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22615630)

Troll, all your posts are the same, please stop.

Re:oK... (1)

LecheryJesus (1245812) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615670)

let the bashing begin. I mean, it's MS and this is /. Hmmm... what could we bash them for this time.. Oh . I know... Nahhh... there is no Linuzz or Abble telescope... Hmm... let me see... Oh, I know! ***IF**** Abble could make one it would be better. I mean, it would be shining white and **cool***. Ohh...or better, let's bashing them by not making it OS!


Whilst what you said is not quite "the biggest load of jibber jabber since time cube", I, for one still have No Fucking Idea What You Are On About

Aren't you really called El Lobotomite?

Re:oK... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22618312)

Sweet zombie Jesus, it's the Anti-Twitter!

black hole (1)

Harlem_Jackson (1240274) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614868)

where?

This is an invention? (0, Troll)

Gregg M (2076) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614872)

So it's kind of like Google Earth, but not as useful. Seems these days, Microsoft is trying real hard to be altruistic.

Thanks Microsoft for *inventing* this!

Re:This is an invention? (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614902)

So it's kind of like Google Earth, but not as useful. Seems these days, Microsoft is trying real hard to be altruistic.

I think maybe it's more like Google Sky [google.com] .

Re:This is an invention? (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614948)

Most likely M$ is just trying to get more people to install 'Silverfish', you can pretty well bet that it will be locked to it.

Re:This is an invention? (1)

MickDownUnder (627418) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615006)

Actually I don't believe it's using silverlight, which is a pity for linux dudes out there because whilst there is Linux support for Silverlight, I don't think there's linux support for Photosynth. Guess, you'll just have to be content with Google Sky ;)

Re:This is an invention? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22614980)

Altruistic? Not entirely.
From a few presentations that I have seen, Microsoft has been working
with large astronomy data sets for quite some time, mostly exploring
database development using data that has a wide user base but has no
commercial value. Microsoft's point seems to be that because the data
sets of astronomical data are large, it is not practical to download the
raw data set to each user that wants to process it. The solution, according
to MS research, seems to be to concentrate the data at a few centralized
sites where users submit queries and the processing results are returned to you.

Those centralized sites, of course, are supposed to run MS database
software. So, some altruism, but also access to very large data sets
that just happen to be suitable for developing and testing their
database offerings.

Re:This is an invention? (5, Insightful)

MickDownUnder (627418) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615032)

Microsoft didn't invent it. They bought [nwsource.com] it.

I think the thing that really ticks off the tech community about Microsoft, is that they don't really invent anything, they're just extrordinarily good and spotting excellent software early on, acquiring it and then marketing it better than any other company out there.

even worse (3, Interesting)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615178)

The guy who founded the company has been filing a dozen patents on obvious ways of doing image zooming and multiple level of detail rendering. Buying the company, Microsoft got the software, the patents, and they also established that the patents are valuable.

These people are real sleazeballs.

http://www.google.com/patents?q=Blaise+Aguera+y+Arcas&btnG=Search+Patents [google.com]

Yeah but... (1)

huckamania (533052) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615436)

I don't see MS using patents as a weapon, only for FUD and defense. I know that's kind of like saying the dragon only uses his teeth when close, but it's still true.

Personally, I'm not that worried about patents. Being sued usually presupposes a certain level of affluence and comes with the territory. As a citizen of the USA, I'm am worried. The patent for 'Scanning a check and exchanging information about the scanned check' is going to cost everyone money and make a few people rich. It about makes me sick.

Re:Yeah but... (1)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615948)

I don't see MS using patents as a weapon, only for FUD and defense.

Yeah, "defense" as in "if you don't do what we want, we'll sue so long and hard, your investors will run screaming and your startup will crumble". Here, "do" can be anything from "give us a cross-license agreement on your patents" to "sell your company to us".

And because of cross-licensing agreements, Microsoft doesn't have to worry about any big competitor getting into a big fight with them.

With competent lawyers and business people involved, very few patent infringement claims ever make it to court.

Re:Yeah but... (1)

EXMSFT (935404) | more than 6 years ago | (#22616078)

Can you find me one historical example of Microsoft doing exactly that? Microsoft has historically used their patent portfolio LITERALLY as a defensive mechanism. When aggressive patent filers/enforcers come out swinging, THEN Microsoft brings out the portfolio, in much more of a "do you really want to pick the fight you think you want to pick"? Microsoft has not employed SCO-like tactics that I can recall. Perhaps I don't remember specific incidents that you are thinking of.

Re:Yeah but... (1)

LS (57954) | more than 6 years ago | (#22616356)

Funny that you mention SCO, as Microsoft was responsible [slashdot.org] for $50 million infusion [linux.com] to keep them alive. Choose your analogies carefully...

LS

Re:Yeah but... (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22616386)

Microsoft has not employed SCO-like tactics

Um, Microsoft employed SCO to employ SCO-like tactics, hello? Remember, several million dollars for "Unix licenses", several million dollars PIPE investments by way of Baystar and RBC, etc.

Not to mention the "nice little operating system you have there, it'd be a shame if we had to enforce any of our 238 patents on it" tactics to spread FUD.

Re:This is an invention? (4, Informative)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 6 years ago | (#22616058)

Google also acquired many of their recent products, including Google Earth. If these big companies want to buy all of this stuff and release it to the public for free, however, I'm not going to complain :)

Re:This is an invention? (1)

naoursla (99850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22617028)

Technically, no company invents anything. It is always people that invent things. Often those people are paid by companies to invent things. Does it really make a difference if they pay the person before the thing was invented or afterwards?

Re:This is an invention? (1)

TheSeer2 (949925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22617364)

Acquisition is a legitimate tool to expand your business, this will sound like I'm avoiding naming names but there are some organisations that really help the open source movement that include several acquired companies... err I think Sun was one.

Re:This is an invention? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22617394)

Of course, Google bought most of their warez (their much ballyhooed 1000 PhDs have produced nearly NOTHING of note), yet you masturbate to Google's home page.

Apple purchased most of its software products too (including their OS for crying out loud), yet you masturbate to Apple's home page.

Your hypocrisy is quite apparent.

Re:This is an invention? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22615258)

If Apple had done it you'd probably be singing their praises.

C'mon..... (1)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614876)

This article has got to be a hose. I mean, Microsoft doing something both useful and cool?

Well, as they say: even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and then...

The Video (4, Insightful)

aembleton (324527) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614908)

Curtis Wong explains what you can do, 5.15 into the video. Before that it is a load of boring talk about how it will allow us all to explore the universe and increase our understanding, etc but with some cool pictures of what you can expect to see from the world wide telescope. It will be a free download this spring from http://worldwidetelescope.org/ [worldwidetelescope.org]

I for one, am looking forward to this. I'm sure someone will ask if it can run on Linux. I've no idea, but I can't see it being that hard for Wine to get it working.

Re:The Video (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615896)

I especially like the part where it says its the biggest thing to happen to astronomy since Gallileo. I didn't think TED was about cheerleading for corporate Johnny-Come-Latelies.

Re:The Video (2, Funny)

typicallyterrific (934202) | more than 6 years ago | (#22616182)

You know, I'd be surprised if it runs on XP, let alone Linux.

I'm the "Microsoft Visual Experience Engine" has some core dependency like DirectX 10, or whatever, that is a big pain in the ass to port. (Not to mention, corporate strategies behind Vista and all that).

Looking up now copyright infringement (2, Funny)

syousef (465911) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614924)

In related news Microsoft has issued a press release indicating that users looking up are taking revenue from Microsoft, who now owns the copyright to 100% of the sky. "As we all know DRM is a critical issue today. If people could just look up any time they pleased there would be no need for our new software. Innovation would be stiffled and we have scientists who say the sky might fall." said Microsoft product manager I M ATwat. "For many years we at Microsoft have endured casual astronomers looking up at the sky, and focused our efforts at prosecuting only professionals. However, today we will be launching an education campaign aimed at educating the public about the legal dangers of looking up. We are launching a new tool SGA - 'Sky Genuine Advantage' which will inform the user that piracy is illegal and won't be tolerated. Delivery will be via Microsoft Blimp. We at Microsoft look forward to providing our users with legal computerized views of the sky for a very reasonable price."

Re:Looking up now copyright infringement (2, Funny)

mdenham (747985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614968)

Can't copyright the sky; it's public domain to begin with. Can't patent it, as there are numerous examples of prior art. Unless MS is planning on getting into the aerospace industry (always a possibility; watch for falling flaming debris) why would they actually do this? So their programmers can actually see what it looks like outside?

Also, I want to report a bug with the sky software. Sometimes this giant ball of fire becomes visible, and looking at it hurts my eyes.

Re:Looking up now copyright infringement (2, Interesting)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615056)

Maybe they've got sanity projects for their programmers: let them do cool stuff, too, every once in a while. Maybe they just figure it's worth making investments on neat tech without quite knowing for sure what it will end up being used for. If anyone's got enough resources to do that, it's MS.

Re:Looking up now copyright infringement (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#22616778)

MS has been doing this kind of high concept demo's for years to provide real life examples of tech they hope to apply elsewhere - many people forget the first big mapping/aerial/satellite photography database on the web wasn't Google Maps, or Yahoo Maps, or any of the other big names today... It was Microsoft's Terraserver. (Which is still quite useful because one of it's layers is topo maps.)

Re:Looking up now copyright infringement (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 6 years ago | (#22616136)

Can't copyright the sky; it's public domain to begin with.

Take my love. Take my land.
Take me where I cannot stand.
I don't care, I'm still free.
You can't take the sky from me.

Take me out to the black.
Tell 'em I ain't comin' back.
Burn the land And boil the sea.
You can't take the sky from me.

Have no place I can be since I found Serenity.
But you can't take the sky from me.

Finally solved the exponential growth problem ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22615028)

So Bill Gates finally found a solution to the problem that he warned shareholders about a few years ago: just take over the universe. Now shareholders will be able to enjoy the exponential growth of Microsoft, thus the exponential growth of their share value, for a few more generations.

Alas, Bill Gates is scheduled to make an announcement next week about this. Rumour has it that he is going to announce that Microsoft's growth is going to be seriously hindered due to communication speeds being limited by the speed of light. But they are also trying to find away to buy-out the laws of physics to solve that problem.

Looks bit like Celestia (also free, Win/App/Lin) (1, Informative)

Muphry (202562) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614944)

Looks a lot like the also free Celestia:

http://www.shatters.net/celestia/ [shatters.net]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celestia [wikipedia.org]

Not true... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22615014)

...kindly RTFA: it consists of actual imagery, not a model of the imagery like Celestia... (karma whoring: off)

Re:Not true... (1)

TransEurope (889206) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615070)

The guy in the video behaves like he, i'm sorry, Microsoft Microsoft Microsoft, invented the Philosopher's Stone. The only difference between them and a free project like Celestia is, the "scientists" from MS have the money to buy the newest space images. But "new" is something else.

Re:Not true... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22615248)

Use Kstars then.
You can right click on any object in the sky and it will grab from the internet the 1st or 2nd generation DSS images .
This is more useful in a way, as the ones on the world wide telescope have been stretched/alpha blended/false coloured etc to look pretty and are not so useful for real astronomy.

Re:Not true... (1)

cmacb (547347) | more than 6 years ago | (#22616722)

..kindly RTFA: it consists of actual imagery, not a model of the imagery like Celestia... (karma whoring: off)


Yes, but why is this being presented as as advantage over 3D modeling?

To answer my own question: A program like Celestia allows you to see hundreds of thousands of stars (or however many are in the database you are using). It allows you to "fly" to those stars, turn around and look back at our star from them, or see star configurations that are familiar to us on earth from other perspectives. What a program like Celestia doesn't do is allow you to see other galaxies, or at least it doesn't allow you to interact with them in the same way you would a star in our galaxy. (I haven't used Celestia for a while and I can't remember if they present galaxies as distant points that you can never quite get to.)

I see advantages to both, but in comparing the oh-wow aspects of the two I think Celestia is a far greater accomplishment, especially considering it has been around for what 7 years or more, and runs on Windows, Linux OS X and without special software.

This "new" thing from Microsoft on the other hand looks like one more (and I suspect there will be many to follow) inducement for people to adopt Silverlight. Anyone who can't see that needs more than a computerized telescope to help them with their vision.

Microsoft strategy inspired by Douglas Adams (2, Funny)

LecheryJesus (1245812) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614950)

Firstly they act like a Vogon Constructor Fleet http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vogon_Constructor_Fleet [wikipedia.org] and destroy all competition to their plans...

Second they try to take over the internet like Infinidim Enterprises http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mostly_Harmless#Infinidim_Enterprises [wikipedia.org] took over the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Worse, Steve Ballmer starts performinghttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vogon_poetry [wikipedia.org] as can be seen here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMU0tzLwhbE [youtube.com]

Now they come up with this... Their very own version of the Total Perspective Vortex http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_Perspective_Vortex [wikipedia.org]

Rumour has it that after the Vista debacle, MS is going to rename itself to MyCrowSoft and their next OS will be far more powerful than any other ever released. Fully optimised for mobile applications, it will ship in an innovative new format with a shock proof coating of black feathers...

Apologies for the urls, formatting etc. but I'm not used to this yet.

Searching (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614954)

Microsoft searching for heavenly inspiration on what to do with Vista?

The battle against Google goes on (0, Flamebait)

r3f4rd30n (1030822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614962)

Well, it seems they can't beat Google on Earth, so they gotta think big...

For 16 years we have provided spin... (1, Interesting)

mattpalmer1086 (707360) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614984)

The technology looks very cool, but Microsoft just can't resist spinning even where there doesn't seem to be any need at all. Check out the FAQ at worldwidetelescope: http://worldwidetelescope.org/buzz/FAQ.aspx [worldwidetelescope.org]

Q. When did Microsoft first starting looking at the sky?
A. For 16 years, Microsoft has invested, and will continue to invest, in long-term, broad-based research through Microsoft Research. WorldWide Telescope is built on work that started with Jim Gray's SkyServer and his contributions to Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
Sky Server (a portal to the Sloan Digital Sky Survey) was first released in 2001. Aside from the poor grammar in the question, reading that answer just made my skin crawl...

A little about the WWT (5, Informative)

gsn (989808) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614996)

I've been very lucky to see this project from alpha to present because one of friends interned with the group and introduced me to them - its gone through some amazing development - I remember seeing this I think early 2007 - it looked more like Stellarium than anything else but just plane black with solid circles for stars and galaxies. It took forever to load images when you zoomed in. Must have crashed about 30 times in a five minute demo.

Jonathan Fay (of MaximDL fame) showed it off at Table Mountain Star Party last year and they'd moved from that sky to a synthetic pre-rendered sky that would transition to real images from Hubble or other sources as you zoomed in.

Saw it again at the American Astronomical Society Meeting this January in Austin and really got to play with it since they were right alongside the Harvard IIC booth. It was the first time they were using real imagery for the entire sky and it looked amazing and Jonathan was touting the tour facility.

Its biggest trick in my mind though you didn't see in the video - one little slider that takes you from the Optical to the Infrared and Microwave and X-Ray sky. Simply blew me away.

It already supports VOTable and FITS images and dozens of other formats that astronomers use and are becoming standards for enthusiastic hobbyists. You can take your own images and put them up on the same sky as data from Chandra or Swift or the best ground based data from MMT or Magellan or Keck. Now it starts to get really useful. The CfA at Harvard has been digitizing its old plates of sky images, Pan-STARRS will start operating sooner rather than later, SDSS has a ton of data already and LSST will be up in a few years imaging the entire sky every few nights. This is a monstrous amount of data and the system really gives you a way to search through it all very intuitively. I'd love the ability to click on a star in the sky and have all known spectra of it pop up along with references. Not quite there yet but it will be.

This also makes it the best educational tool. There are projects like Las Cumbres and several schools and colleges have access to telescopes so this gives you a great tool with which to look at data and take your own data and do it in a way that doesn't require you learning how to use NED and SIMBAD and looking for papers on ADS. But I think the biggest thing it does is just blow you away with a sense of how large everything is, or perhaps how small you are in relation and I think that is a very powerful idea. I remember the first time I saw the Eames Power of Ten video - this takes that to a different level and is genuinely thought provoking.

Quite simply the best thing I've ever seen out of Microsoft.

Re:A little about the WWT (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615384)

Its biggest trick in my mind though you didn't see in the video - one little slider that takes you from the Optical to the Infrared and Microwave and X-Ray sky. Simply blew me away.

What about time ? Is there a means of moving forward and backwards in time ? (A lot of the interest in the Harvard Sky Patrol plate, for example, is that they sample the sky in the past.)

Re:A little about the WWT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22615878)

Bullshit. 100 percent BULLSHIT. You have no "friends" at MS, you did like everyone esle, made up a bunch of shit from bits and pieces, and than in a lame attempt to validate your life and draw Karma to your fiction, added "I knew someone...". The only way you "knew" someone was when they super-sized their order at your drive-through window. You're just sad.

Re:A little about the WWT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22618936)

Now all the Linux nut huggers will come out and say they could make a better alternative than this closed proprietary telescope.

Where are you all....

http://www.stellarium.org/ (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615072)

RTFS

Eh... (1)

pinguwin (807635) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615076)

They lost me reeeeaaaaalllllllll quick on the video. When he said that this project will as profound an impact as did Galileo's telescopes, that's when he lost me. No, I didn't watch the video and this isn't an anti-microsoft rant. I'm interested when it comes out but I don't have time to watch videos that make claims like that. Galileo's invention was universe-shattering and people 400 years later know who he was and talk about him. Do you really believe that in 2408 people will be discussing the WWT? Me thinks not.

Re:Eh... (3, Funny)

rampant poodle (258173) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615312)

As soon as I heard him say "holistic" I hit the back button. Learned a long time ago the term holistic us usually a codeword for inane bullshit.

Re:Eh... (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615490)

Learned a long time ago the term holistic us usually a codeword for inane bullshit.
Yes. And double the price. Don't forget double the price. That adjective always means more cost.

Lame demo or not a big deal (2, Interesting)

daemonsito (133397) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615084)

I'm not sure if that was just a lame demo, but that "telescope" is really not a big deal.

It's basically one of the application I already had installed in my Linux box for years, but only with a bigger database. That can surely not be accounted as an invention, and certainly not as big an invention as the telescope 400 years ago.

Sky Map (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22615112)

Isn't this the same as http://www.sky-map.org [sky-map.org] ?

How is different from Google Sky? (2, Interesting)

mario_grgic (515333) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615168)

Google Earth has had something like this for a long time now. Is this any better or is it just an expression of Microsoft's fear of Google and need to "me too" everything Google does?

Re:How is different from Google Sky? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#22616804)

Google Earth has had something like this for a long time now.

Not really - because Google Sky is a fixed map.
 
 

Is this any better or is it just an expression of Microsoft's fear of Google and need to "me too" everything Google does?

This a) much better and b) you really need to pay attention to who is "me too"ing. (Google Maps, for example, was a "me too" from Microsoft Terraserver.)

The real question here is (1)

OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615234)

exactly how will this help me find and/or download porn? Wake me up when Microsoft buys the guys who invented the worldwide porn telescope, then I'll be impressed.

Re:The real question here is (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615460)

Wake me up when Microsoft buys the guys who invented the worldwide porn telescope, then I'll be impressed.
And perhaps that should never be given smelloscope functionality...? Or perhaps that's exactly what it should have...?

Jim Gray gone missing (4, Informative)

LS (57954) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615276)

On a related note, Jim Gray [microsoft.com] , the researcher behind the WorldWide Telescope, recently went missing [microsoft.com] on a sailing expedition. The search has already been suspended.

LS

Re:Jim Gray gone missing (1)

aembleton (324527) | more than 6 years ago | (#22616030)

Thanks for adding that. I didn't realise he had gone missing and hope he is found soon.

A website has been set up as part of the search effort: http://www.helpfindjim.com/ [helpfindjim.com]

child says to parent, pointing at the screen (1)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615700)

"mummy, why is that galaxy shaped like a chair"?

so much for: "But you can't take the sky from me" (0, Troll)

Locutus (9039) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615734)

I can't wait til they start changing the constellations.

LoB

Re:so much for: "But you can't take the sky from m (1)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615848)

Are you suggesting burning the land and boiling the sea are also in MSFTs plans?

Re:so much for: "But you can't take the sky from m (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 6 years ago | (#22616122)

Are you suggesting burning the land and boiling the sea are also in MSFTs plans?
more like already attempted and partially implemented by purchasing competitors only to terminate their product lines along with promoting patent FUD via SCO and then their own IP threats/FUD. So yes, they have been working on burning the land and boiling the seas for quite some time.

LoB

Re:so much for: "But you can't take the sky from m (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 6 years ago | (#22616764)

I've got to try that sometime.

"Are you suggesting that [bad thing]"

More like Microsoft DRM Information wants to be free FUD You cannot steal an idea, only infringe on it SCO Intellectual Property is evil P2P They stole Apple's idea and manipulated them into giving them copyrights OOXML Convicted Monopolist! So yes, [bad thing], for quite some time.

Earlier Autistic Story going around (1)

955301 (209856) | more than 6 years ago | (#22616172)

I hate to be so reactive to the things I have recently seen, but I wonder what would happen if you exposed this system to the autistic community? It seems like a lot of data that would do well to be digested by someone predisposed to taking it all in at once.

BSOD (1)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22616412)

I tried it, but all I could see was the Blue Sky of Death !

Flash?! ....flush..... (1)

mnemotronic (586021) | more than 6 years ago | (#22616980)

Call me a luddite, but I really don't like flash.

Statements that are always true (1)

omarius (52253) | more than 6 years ago | (#22617112)

"We can see all the way out to the edge of the observable universe." ...is that so? Amazing.

Home page (1)

opec (755488) | more than 6 years ago | (#22617208)

Check out the home page [worldwidetelescope.org] of the WWTelescope.

Is anyone else feeling absolutely creeped out by the "kids react to WWT" video?

I did it for $90 (1)

garglebutt (766885) | more than 6 years ago | (#22617620)

And in terms of user experience, this is different from any of the leading planetarium software in what way?

Do not want... (1)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 6 years ago | (#22617902)

Will it run on Linux? No?

Ho Hum.
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