SkyView in the WWT

The release of Microsoft’s WorldWideTelescope this week made a big splash with articles in the New York Times and other media. It’s a very nice interface where you can just zoom and pan and compare data in a very elegant fashion. The ability to build tours of the sky is amazing.

When they look inside the hood of the WWT, SkyView users may find a lot of stuff that looks familiar. Most of the survey images in the initial release of WWT were taken from SkyView. The TOAST projection was added to SkyView to help support the WWT’s ingest of many of our most popular surveys.

We are very pleased to have been able to play a role in the WWT. We anticipate closer integration of SkyView and this kind of interface (WWT, GoogleSky, sky-map.org) in the future. The unprecedented ability to rapidly browse the entire survey nicely complements SkyView’s ability to create precisely tailored images. SkyView’s role as an archive for multi-wavelength survey data remains unparalleled and should be strengthened with the release of our publication interface.

Congratulations to the WWT team.

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4 Responses to SkyView in the WWT

  1. Tractor tom says:

    The stereo 3d views are awesome.

  2. Stephen Judd says:

    These data are made available only in Microsoft’s closed proprietary formats. To view them I must have a MS OS or I must install on my computer a piece of software (Sliverlight) that was designed (secretly) by MS and written (secretly) by MS whose major business purpose is to promulgate private encodings of data so that only they know how to open it. This is no way to publish public data.

    We paid for NASA research through own own tax dollars, and we deserve to be able to obtain the results in OPEN PUBLIC STANDARDS.

  3. Tom McGlynn says:

    While the WWT runs in a proprietary operating system, it does not use proprietary data formats for the survey data. All of the SkyView survey data used by the WWT was provided in FITS and PNG formats both of which are open and public standards. The same data is available to all other users of SkyView.

    The goal of this project is the widest possible dissemination of information from astronomical survey datasets. While we provide data directly to end-users we are always happy to work with other groups who wish to interface with SkyView data or to use it within their own projects. E.g., in addition to the WWT we have helped the sky-map.org team and the Aladin group at the CDS both of whom have developed user interfaces that provide access to SkyView information. We are very pleased that all of these projects have added to the community of users who can view the underlying datasets.

    SkyView imposes no constraints on how users may use the data obtained from it though some of the data is copyrighted by its creators.

  4. Tins says:

    My initial impression stands: WWT is a wonderful piece of software that excels at rendering Earth’s view of the universe onto the screen in a beautiful and compelling way. But it also has a set of more advanced features that should make amateur astronomers very happy.

    It takes a few minutes to get used to the user interface, after which it feels very intuitive.

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