Microsoft's WorldWide Telescope
Microsoft has released their Spring Beta version of the WorldWide Telescope. The WorldWide Telescope (WWT) is a free resource program developed on the Microsoft Visual Experience EngineTM, and dedicated to Jim Gray, a former Microsoft researcher who designed predecessors to the WWT.
The WWT is Web 2.0 visualization software, which allows your computer to act as a telescope and explore the universe. Once installed, the WWT allows you to take your own tours of the universe and pan, zoom, change filters, and explore at your own pace. You can also take "Guided Tours" through the WWT, which are virtual tours delivered by some of the top educators and astronomers. Guided Tours are a great way to get introduced to, and familiarized with, the workings of the WWT.
Other features of the WWT include Search, which allows you to research objects using either their common or catalog name. Communities allow you to join, meet, and share information with people who share your common WWT interests. You can optionally install the ASCOM Platform Software, which allows you to further configure and control your computer's telescope.
To download and install the WorldWide Telescope and start exploring today, visit the Microsoft web site worldwidetelescope.org. From the Microsoft web site, you can learn more about the WWT, read Press on it, and find Support as well.