Microsoft Launches Worldwide Virtual Telescope

By Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope is a rich visualization environment that functions as a virtual telescope, bringing together imagery from the best ground- and space-based telescopes to enable seamless exploration of the universe.

It is a desktop observatory, allowing you to explore the sky with multi-wavelength views, stars and planets within context to each other, the ability to zoom in and out, and the capability to create and share a tour of the universe. It integrates with contextual web data.

You can see the X-ray view of the sky and zoom into bright radiation clouds, and then cross-fade into the visible light view and discover the cloud remnants of a supernova explosion from 1,000 years ago. Switch to the Hydrogen-Alpha view to see the distribution and illumination of massive primordial hydrogen cloud structures lit up by the high-energy radiation coming from nearby stars in the Milky Way.

Virtual Telescope requires high end hardware to use. For windows machines you need at least:

  • Microsoft® XP SP2 (minimum), Windows Vista (recommended)
  • PC with Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 2 gigahertz (GHz) or faster, recommended
  • 1 gigabyte (GB) of RAM; 2 GB RAM recommended
  • 3D accelerated card with 128 megabytes (MB) RAM; discrete graphics card with dedicated 256-MB VRAM recommended for higher performance
  • 1 GB of available hard disk space; 10 GB recommended for off-line features and higher performance browsing
  • XGA (1024 x 768) or higher resolution monitor
  • Microsoft® DirectX® version 9.0c and .NET Framework 2.0
  • Required for some features; Internet connection at 56 Kbps or higher speed.

It can run on Mac with the following minimum requirements:

  • A version of Microsoft Windows must be installed (Microsoft XP SP2 or Windows® Vista)
  • Macintosh with an Intel Core 2 Duo (2.2 GHz or faster) processor recommended
  • 1GB of RAM; 2GB RAM recommended
  • NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics card with 128MB SDRAM recommended
  • Hierarchical File System Plus (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
  • Mac OS X 10.2 “Jaguar” and Boot Camp; Mac OS X Leopard is recommended
  • Microsoft DirectX End-User Runtime 9.0c or later and .NET Framework 2.0 or later
  • Required for some features; Internet connection at 56 Kbps or higher speed
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