Friday, January 16, 2009

WorldWide Telescope: Astronomy of the Future

Monthly Observatory Night
Thursday, January 15, 7:30 pm:
"WorldWide Telescope: Astronomy of the Future," Alyssa Goodman, CfA

Astronomy is undergoing a second revolution just as dramatic as Galileo's. No longer must astronomers spend long hours in cold domes. Computers now allow scientists and laypeople alike to access the sky from their office or home. Helping to lead this revolution is the free "WorldWide Telescope" program developed by Microsoft Research. The WWT offers a rich environment for displaying maps of the sky at any wavelength. Users can learn more about objects or processes via "research" links and interactive guided tours of the sky. Alyssa Goodman will discuss how WWT opens a new window onto the sky and brings the cosmos to the computer in a unique way.
It was cold last night, but I went anyway. I got there 20 minutes early. The lecture hall was practically full already. Consequently, the lecture started earlier than the scheduled time. Even then, it ran half an hour over until 9pm.

The lecture was delightful, mostly due to the excellent presentation by Alyssa Goodman. She was articulate, engaging, and knows how to use the Worldwide Telescope software expertly. She is even knowlegable about the Semantic Web. Needless to say, I was impressed.

The WorldWide Telescope (WWT)

To top off the evening, I had the pleasure to chat with a long time acquaintance, DickM afterwards.


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