It’s been online since 2009, but thought I’d give a spiel on the WorldWide Telescope as it is still a relatively unknown but incredible resource for exploring the universe on one’s own using the latest imagery and some actual “T time” if one is so inclined.
The project is the brainchild of Microsoft and is available across the planet to anyone with web access. Microsoft has for the past 19 years, and will in the long term, continue to invest and develop this observation resource built upon Jim Gray’s seminal work on SkyServer and contributions to the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The guiding principle of Gray’s research was to make scientific discoveries and data publicly available.
Looking at several avenues for exploration; Tours, Find Objects and Educator Resources, one finds there are numerous venues for viewing objects, 2D and 3D, canned tours and DIY tours, and videos. It’s pretty fascinating to actually view findings, some in near real time. I had heard of this years ago, but like many – life has gotten in the way of genuine experience and real absorption of true knowledge. Check it out – this should be one of life’s ‘bucket life’ experiences and right at one’s keyboard fingertips!
Other related and interesting sites include; Us Virtual Astonomical Observatory, http://energy.gov/, The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia, Mars Rover, and the Standford Solar Center. There’s more but these are the ones I’m most familiar with.