May 13, 2008
Chandra X-ray Center, Cambridge, Mass.
The incredible images from NASA's "Great Observatories" and many other NASA space- and ground-based telescopes are now available to the public in an educational and innovative manner through today's release of the free WorldWide Telescope (WWT) software from Microsoft.
Views of the cosmos from observatories including the Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope, and Chandra X-ray Observatory can all be accessed through the same intuitive interface of exploring the night sky. Several all-sky surveys are also available through the WWT. The rich multimedia software enables browsing through the visible, infrared, X-ray, and other views of the Universe, allowing for direct comparison of multi-wavelength observations that reveal surprising contrasts.
"Users can see the X-ray view of the sky, zoom into bright radiation clouds and then cross fade into the visible light view and discover the cloud remnants of a supernova explosion," said Roy Gould, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "I believe this new creation from Microsoft will have a profound impact on the way we view the Universe."
Another innovative feature of the WWT is that of the guided tours. Created by scientists and educators, these tours guide users through various aspects of astronomy with narration, music, text, and graphics. Members of the public, including children, will also be able to make their own tours to share with others.
There are over 30 Chandra images within the WWT, both those containing only X-ray data and others that are composites with different wavelengths. There are also six guided tours that feature Chandra results. These numbers will continue to grow as the WWT moves forward.
The WWT is available as of May 13, 2008 at www.worldwidetelescope.org
Information about NASA and its suite of missions can always be found at: www.nasa.gov
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