Microsoft is never one to be outdone, and following news that they won’t be purchasing Yahoo to take on Google in the search engine industry, they have attempted to go one step further than the Google Earth (with the celestial add-on) application. Worldwide Telescope (how long before a full Google Galaxy is released?) is a downloadable piece of software that enables users to view images from land and space telescopes.
The Windows only software (who’d have guessed) then enables users to pan around the planets, zoom in and out, and locate an area relative to the rest of the sky. Not only does the software work according to current coordinates but can also be used to see how the sky looked in the past.
Aimed to bring out the astronomer in all of us, and provide some use to the professionals too, Worldwide Telescope has taken images from some major resources to create what looks an incredible bit of software. NASA has contributed substantial material and images are also provided by the Chandra X-Ray telescope.
Currently in Beta, the Worldwide Telescope which also includes tours around the galaxy by professional astronomers, has some hefty system requirements even by today’s standards. A 2GHz Processor and 2GB of RAM as well as up to 10GB of empty hard drive are required. Besides this you also need a graphics card with 128MB of dedicated memory so it’s not for the faint hearted but it does look incredible.