What made me cry: Microsoft’s World Wide Telescope

Lots of people are asking me questions about what made me cry at Microsoft a few weeks ago.

If I told you “a telescope” you’d make fun of me, right? Tell me I’m lame and that I don’t deserve to be a geek and that I should run away and join the circus, right?

Well, that’s what I saw.

Or, more accurately, the WorldWide Telescope.

UPDATE: the official site is now up.

Like I said, sounds lame. How could that possibly be the most fabulous thing I’ve seen Microsoft do in years? And that’s not just me talking. My friends who’ve seen it say that I actually underhyped it. That’s the first time anyone has said I underhyped something when I was trying to be so over-the-top with hype.

Like I said, it isn’t the product that’s impressive. You’ve gotta see this thing to really understand. My video will be up on Monday.

But, I’ll try to give you an idea of what made me so impressed.

Think of Google Maps or Microsoft’s Live Maps. How dragging a map around lets you see the world in a new way. Zoom in. Zoom out. You have the whole world in a window on your screen.

Now, think of the sky.

When Brian Cox, physicist at CERN, spoke at LIFT last year he told us to hold our hands out, put our thumb up and realize there are hundreds of thousands of stars in just that small patch of sky.

Now you’ve probably looked at imagery from the Hubble Telescope. So you know there are entire galaxies out there. But what are you missing?

Context.

In other words, you have no idea where in the sky those things you see in Sky and Telescope magazine are. You’re missing context.

So, back to the World Wide Telescope. You drag around the sky. There’s Mars. There’s the big dipper. There’s Betelguese. Etc. It’s just like the star party you probably attended in college.

But it has one difference between any telescope you’ve ever looked at.

You can zoom. Zoom. Zoom. Zoom.

We picked a point of light inside the big dipper. Zoom. Zoom. Zoom. Zoom. Holy shit, it’s two galaxies colliding. It looked like a star. Zoom. Zoom. Zoom.

Now the magic happened.

Curtis Wong said: “let’s switch to a different telescope and see what these two galaxies colliding are spitting out.”

He clicked a button and we saw a completely different view of the same colliding galaxies. This time we weren’t looking at visible light, but at something else. I think it might have been infrared, or maybe a look at other kinds of radiation being kicked out. He had about 10 of the world’s telescopes to look at. I forget all the names, but that detail is in the video coming on Monday.

Zoom out. Zoom out. Zoom out. Zoom out. Pan over to Mars. What a glorious view. You’ve never seen Mars like that through your $2,000 Celestron Telescope.

Oh, you have one of those nice Celestron telescopes with the motorized base? Click a button and your telescope points to what you’re looking at in this piece of software.

And there’s a ton more, the demo just goes on and on and on.

Some other things.

1. It’s dedicated to Jim Gray, the Microsoft Researcher who sailed out of San Francisco Bay about a year ago never to be heard from again. He started this project with a paper back in 2002.
2. It runs only on Windows. It’s coded in C#/.NET, you’ll meet the developer in our video and you’ll hear more about that then.
3. It’s free, but only in a private alpha right now. I’m not sure when it’ll be released to the public. I bet that we’ll find that out at Microsoft’s Tech Fest next week (TechCrunch and other bloggers are going to that, so Im sure we’ll hear lots more details on the other cool stuff Microsoft Research is doing).
4. There are terabytes of data, all seamlessly integrated for the first time here.
5. There are narrations and tours. I believe you can even add your own, so you can leave a little tour for your kids to see the sky in a new way.
6. Mike Arrington and Dan Farber figured it out first.

So, why cry over a telescope?

Because I just saw the world I live in, er, excuse me, the universe I live in in a new way that I never had imagined before.

I cried because I imagined all the kids, like my sons, who will be inspired by what they see. It took me back to the days when John Kennedy wanted us to go to the moon. Hint: there’s a lot more out there to explore.

I cried because I realized just how much work, money, and all that went into making these images. I never had access to them before. Certainly not in this way so I could compare them by clicking a button. As a taxpayer who’s helped pay for some of these telescopes it’s the first time I’ve seen the results of my and your, investments in our scientific research.

It’s human to look out at the sky and wonder what’s going on out there. This takes us a LOT further into our understanding of just what is.

And,, yes, that’s worth crying some inspirational tears. Thank you to Microsoft Research for inspiring me in a way that Microsoft hasn’t inspired me in years.

And, also, sorry to the teams that I caused some PR troubles for. I hope you’ll forgive me for getting a little excited. I couldn’t contain myself. It isn’t everyday that you get to see such an inspiring piece of software.

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363 thoughts on “What made me cry: Microsoft’s World Wide Telescope

  1. Awesome, I can’t wait! I was into astronomy years ago, but have fallen out of it. Perhaps it’s time to sell my old telescope and get a new fancy one to hook up to this software.

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  2. Awesome, I can’t wait! I was into astronomy years ago, but have fallen out of it. Perhaps it’s time to sell my old telescope and get a new fancy one to hook up to this software.

    Like

  3. This sounds fantastic! What I need now, is a giant screen stuck on my ceiling, so I can lie on my back and zoom in and out of the stars I’m staring at.

    Like

  4. This sounds fantastic! What I need now, is a giant screen stuck on my ceiling, so I can lie on my back and zoom in and out of the stars I’m staring at.

    Like

  5. Hey, tell us something new! We all knew it was the World Wide Telescope a week ago! See http://www.davidarno.org/ for example.

    It’ll be interesting to see if it’s better than Google’s already-available and works-on-all-machines telescope app.

    Like

  6. The one thing I always found with owning a telescope was however much I spent I was never satisfied with the results, this sounds like every astronomers dream come true.

    sent from: fav.or.it [FID7844]

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  7. The one thing I always found with owning a telescope was however much I spent I was never satisfied with the results, this sounds like every astronomers dream come true.

    sent from: fav.or.it [FID7844]

    Like

  8. Hey, tell us something new! We all knew it was the World Wide Telescope a week ago! See http://www.davidarno.org/ for example.

    It’ll be interesting to see if it’s better than Google’s already-available and works-on-all-machines telescope app.

    Like

  9. Wanderley: it’s different than Celestia, but I agree with you that Celestia is pretty cool too.

    Ron: Far better integration than Google’s Sky View. A lot more telescopes. More inspiring. Hard to explain until I get to show you the video. Google’s Sky View is pretty cool, too, though. The Microsoft Researchers found a better way to stitch together all the databases and display them than Google’s team has.

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  10. Wanderley: it’s different than Celestia, but I agree with you that Celestia is pretty cool too.

    Ron: Far better integration than Google’s Sky View. A lot more telescopes. More inspiring. Hard to explain until I get to show you the video. Google’s Sky View is pretty cool, too, though. The Microsoft Researchers found a better way to stitch together all the databases and display them than Google’s team has.

    Like

  11. Perhaps I’m parochial, but what excites me about Google Maps and Google Earth is the personal connection that I have, or want to have, with the places I’m viewing. When I look at a Google Earth view of Mikkeli, Finland, I get excited because our Finnish exchange student is studying there. When I look at a Google Earth view of Itajai, Brazil, I get excited because I spent a wonderful weekend in a nature preserve in the area several years ago.

    When TechCrunch spilled the beans on WorldWide Telescope on February 18, my first thought was a “so what”? Again, this view is probably parochial, but I probably won’t be leaving this galaxy in my lifetime, so I don’t see how I can form a personal connection with a zoomed view of another galaxy.

    Then again, I have not seen WorldWide Telescope yet. It may be possible that when I see it, I (like others that you have mentioned) will be transported to another dimension, musing on the vastness of the universe and (if I may say this) on the truly awesome nature of God’s creation.

    We’ll see.

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  12. Perhaps I’m parochial, but what excites me about Google Maps and Google Earth is the personal connection that I have, or want to have, with the places I’m viewing. When I look at a Google Earth view of Mikkeli, Finland, I get excited because our Finnish exchange student is studying there. When I look at a Google Earth view of Itajai, Brazil, I get excited because I spent a wonderful weekend in a nature preserve in the area several years ago.

    When TechCrunch spilled the beans on WorldWide Telescope on February 18, my first thought was a “so what”? Again, this view is probably parochial, but I probably won’t be leaving this galaxy in my lifetime, so I don’t see how I can form a personal connection with a zoomed view of another galaxy.

    Then again, I have not seen WorldWide Telescope yet. It may be possible that when I see it, I (like others that you have mentioned) will be transported to another dimension, musing on the vastness of the universe and (if I may say this) on the truly awesome nature of God’s creation.

    We’ll see.

    Like

  13. Ontario: you’re right. I find that usage to be similar to mine, too. But humans look at the sky and wonder “what is out there?” This gives us a new way to see that and it does inspire by the vastness of the universe and its awesome nature. I’ll leave whether a God created that or not to the religious folks, but it is inspiring, no matter what your beliefs are.

    And, who knows, in a few years it might just be possible to go out into space as a tourist, or take a the last years of your life to go work on Mars (they won’t send young people there due to the radiation dangers you’ll face).

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  14. Ontario: you’re right. I find that usage to be similar to mine, too. But humans look at the sky and wonder “what is out there?” This gives us a new way to see that and it does inspire by the vastness of the universe and its awesome nature. I’ll leave whether a God created that or not to the religious folks, but it is inspiring, no matter what your beliefs are.

    And, who knows, in a few years it might just be possible to go out into space as a tourist, or take a the last years of your life to go work on Mars (they won’t send young people there due to the radiation dangers you’ll face).

    Like

  15. Neal: it’s far cooler than any planetarium I’ve ever been in. Planetariums don’t let you zoom or pan you way across the sky. And they don’t let you switch views instantly between lots of different telescopes.

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  16. Neal: it’s far cooler than any planetarium I’ve ever been in. Planetariums don’t let you zoom or pan you way across the sky. And they don’t let you switch views instantly between lots of different telescopes.

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  17. I hope I never look into a telescope and see Beetlejuice. Now if I saw Betelguese, that would be okay, but I really don’t want to see Michael Keaton. 🙂

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  18. I hope I never look into a telescope and see Beetlejuice. Now if I saw Betelguese, that would be okay, but I really don’t want to see Michael Keaton. 🙂

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  19. sounds awesome! now, to go look up companies that make telescopes like the one you described that can work with the software…. remember the telescope buying craze that ensued during the last pass of Haley’s comet? Do you think this will inspire such a frenzy if marketed properly? I mean people DO spend $2,000 on a lot of far less cool shit.

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  20. sounds awesome! now, to go look up companies that make telescopes like the one you described that can work with the software…. remember the telescope buying craze that ensued during the last pass of Haley’s comet? Do you think this will inspire such a frenzy if marketed properly? I mean people DO spend $2,000 on a lot of far less cool shit.

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  21. Will NASA be recognized as a partner in this project?

    For an agency in need of a PR lift, this could certainly help generate some buzz – if they were to use this platform properly.

    On that note, will Microsoft be enabling third party mash-ups within the platform? Will historians be able to insert historical information around wars fought based on information they read of the stars? Will users to be able to visit stars who’s names they have purchased? Will brands be able to create mini-games, ARG campaigns and scavenger hunts by having users surf the skies for clues?

    Or will this be relegated to a first time WOW factor we experienced with Google Earth only to see usage drop to a core enthusiast audience thereafter?

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  22. Thanks, Robert. I’m moved by the possibilities. Growing up I learned that the future of humanity is to explore galaxies. This kind of technology will facilitate the ambitions and actions of future generations.

    Like

  23. Will NASA be recognized as a partner in this project?

    For an agency in need of a PR lift, this could certainly help generate some buzz – if they were to use this platform properly.

    On that note, will Microsoft be enabling third party mash-ups within the platform? Will historians be able to insert historical information around wars fought based on information they read of the stars? Will users to be able to visit stars who’s names they have purchased? Will brands be able to create mini-games, ARG campaigns and scavenger hunts by having users surf the skies for clues?

    Or will this be relegated to a first time WOW factor we experienced with Google Earth only to see usage drop to a core enthusiast audience thereafter?

    Like

  24. Thanks, Robert. I’m moved by the possibilities. Growing up I learned that the future of humanity is to explore galaxies. This kind of technology will facilitate the ambitions and actions of future generations.

    Like

  25. Yeah, sorry, but right now I agree with davidarno: sounds like Google Earth in sky view. Last week I saw Google’s Chief Technology Advocate Michael Jones demonstrate it live, and he was practically dancing all over the universe, switching back and forth from Hubble images and observatories in Hawaii that Google has made deals with. It WAS very cool, but I’m curious to see if it’s better. As I understand it, all the Hubble pix are already on Google Earth.

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  26. Yeah, sorry, but right now I agree with davidarno: sounds like Google Earth in sky view. Last week I saw Google’s Chief Technology Advocate Michael Jones demonstrate it live, and he was practically dancing all over the universe, switching back and forth from Hubble images and observatories in Hawaii that Google has made deals with. It WAS very cool, but I’m curious to see if it’s better. As I understand it, all the Hubble pix are already on Google Earth.

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  27. Correct me if I am wrong – can you get addicted to such a thing? I mean like how often you post videos to qik kinda thing? Its still a hobby kinda thing 0 lives for a few days n then dies down because someone does something better. Google obviously won’t sit quiet after this I am sure.

    Well, I agree – it could still have been the most amazing thing at Microsoft you ever saw – they do nice thing very very rarely 😉

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  28. Correct me if I am wrong – can you get addicted to such a thing? I mean like how often you post videos to qik kinda thing? Its still a hobby kinda thing 0 lives for a few days n then dies down because someone does something better. Google obviously won’t sit quiet after this I am sure.

    Well, I agree – it could still have been the most amazing thing at Microsoft you ever saw – they do nice thing very very rarely 😉

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  29. Umm wrong on #6. Didyah catch my “sky” reference before? “Pulling a talk-about-it, while-not-talking-about-it” Scobleism. 😉 No great secret, least to the usual Press guns, but I gave my word. But these things that pass for “journalists” need serious help.

    But I told yah it wouldn’t live up to the hype, you gotta stop being a blubbery emotional-roller-coaster. It’s just a gee-whiz consumer tool, closed beta at that, not exactly on the level of finding a Dark Matter particle, there.

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  30. Umm wrong on #6. Didyah catch my “sky” reference before? “Pulling a talk-about-it, while-not-talking-about-it” Scobleism. 😉 No great secret, least to the usual Press guns, but I gave my word. But these things that pass for “journalists” need serious help.

    But I told yah it wouldn’t live up to the hype, you gotta stop being a blubbery emotional-roller-coaster. It’s just a gee-whiz consumer tool, closed beta at that, not exactly on the level of finding a Dark Matter particle, there.

    Like

  31. Its odd that people have to see something in order to be awed by it. If your imagination is so limited by what you can see you have a larger problems then not having this software.

    It oddly reminds me of the torture chamber in “Life the Universe and Everything”. (Or was it “So long and Thanks for the Fish” ?

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  32. Its odd that people have to see something in order to be awed by it. If your imagination is so limited by what you can see you have a larger problems then not having this software.

    It oddly reminds me of the torture chamber in “Life the Universe and Everything”. (Or was it “So long and Thanks for the Fish” ?

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  33. Mr. Happy, if I told you about this cool movie called Star Wars, would my text have been able to do it justice before you saw it? No.

    Some things you need to see and experience to get.

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  34. Mr. Happy, if I told you about this cool movie called Star Wars, would my text have been able to do it justice before you saw it? No.

    Some things you need to see and experience to get.

    Like

  35. warren: heh, I remember Halley’s Comet very well. I sold 60 Celestron $2,000 telescopes in a year that year. I sold two the next. Keep in mind that such a telescope was totally inappropriate for looking at the comet. Every one of my customers knew that, they just used it as an excuse to buy the telescope they were dreaming about for years.

    I would expect this will get people more interested in astronomy and will lead some to spend big bucks on a motorized telescope, but most people live where they can’t see the sky so such a purchase wouldn’t make much sense.

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  36. warren: heh, I remember Halley’s Comet very well. I sold 60 Celestron $2,000 telescopes in a year that year. I sold two the next. Keep in mind that such a telescope was totally inappropriate for looking at the comet. Every one of my customers knew that, they just used it as an excuse to buy the telescope they were dreaming about for years.

    I would expect this will get people more interested in astronomy and will lead some to spend big bucks on a motorized telescope, but most people live where they can’t see the sky so such a purchase wouldn’t make much sense.

    Like

  37. Completely inappropriate, juvenile image coughed up from my inner depths:

    Remember those old gag shop telescopes where the ring around eye piece was coated in black makeup… and you’d trick your friends to look into them and they’d come away looking like they had a black eye?

    How about a telescope where the eye piece is coated in onion juice? You could trick your friends to look into them and they’d com away crying like an A-lister.

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  38. Completely inappropriate, juvenile image coughed up from my inner depths:

    Remember those old gag shop telescopes where the ring around eye piece was coated in black makeup… and you’d trick your friends to look into them and they’d come away looking like they had a black eye?

    How about a telescope where the eye piece is coated in onion juice? You could trick your friends to look into them and they’d com away crying like an A-lister.

    Like

  39. As the guy who suggested to Robert that he check out what Curtis was doing, I am not sure that I have a vocabulary to describe the brilliance of the product. My humble take is that it is going to change forever how people think about the sky/astronomy, etc.

    It is dazzling…find a way to see it, check it out and, and just marvel.

    Like

  40. As the guy who suggested to Robert that he check out what Curtis was doing, I am not sure that I have a vocabulary to describe the brilliance of the product. My humble take is that it is going to change forever how people think about the sky/astronomy, etc.

    It is dazzling…find a way to see it, check it out and, and just marvel.

    Like

  41. “As a taxpayer who’s helped pay for some of these telescopes it’s the first time I’ve seen the results of my and your, investments in our scientific research”
    the land we are standing is burning, shaking, melting, oceans are getting angry and so on. So many things have higher priority………..but we are trying to catch stars. Priorities are disordered?

    to microsoft, i want to check my emails in 5 seconds…..vista is loading loading and loadinggggg….fix this first then you show the heaven…anyways its an one time excitement.

    Like

  42. “As a taxpayer who’s helped pay for some of these telescopes it’s the first time I’ve seen the results of my and your, investments in our scientific research”
    the land we are standing is burning, shaking, melting, oceans are getting angry and so on. So many things have higher priority………..but we are trying to catch stars. Priorities are disordered?

    to microsoft, i want to check my emails in 5 seconds…..vista is loading loading and loadinggggg….fix this first then you show the heaven…anyways its an one time excitement.

    Like

  43. I’m Running out to Buy my SEGWAY Scooter Now!!

    SNORES*

    Ironically I went into the origi Post + even tho apparently it’s not PhotoSynth it sounds Identical with Zooming + Panning + Multiple Cams*

    Yeah it’s c0ol + so are Colourized Hubble Images*

    What a Supreme Disappointment*

    Crying in my BEER!!

    ;PPP

    Like

  44. I’m Running out to Buy my SEGWAY Scooter Now!!

    SNORES*

    Ironically I went into the origi Post + even tho apparently it’s not PhotoSynth it sounds Identical with Zooming + Panning + Multiple Cams*

    Yeah it’s c0ol + so are Colourized Hubble Images*

    What a Supreme Disappointment*

    Crying in my BEER!!

    ;PPP

    Like

  45. Billy: like I said, you’ve gotta see it. Then you’ll believe. It’s pretty clear you haven’t seen it yet. Why do I put up with people like you here? I expect this kind of comment on Digg, not here.

    Dovella: it’s working. Not sure when it’ll be released, though. I imagine that they need to get the servers ready for a pretty sizeable number of people who’ll all want to try it out at once. Not an easy scalability problem to solve.

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  46. Billy: like I said, you’ve gotta see it. Then you’ll believe. It’s pretty clear you haven’t seen it yet. Why do I put up with people like you here? I expect this kind of comment on Digg, not here.

    Dovella: it’s working. Not sure when it’ll be released, though. I imagine that they need to get the servers ready for a pretty sizeable number of people who’ll all want to try it out at once. Not an easy scalability problem to solve.

    Like

  47. I think its very impressive as a well executed idea. Kudos to Jum Gray for his vision and MSR for building a “WOW thats cool” product.

    I can see why it has to be Windows only (lock-in) or Windows Vista only (Ultimate Extras perhaps) but… (insert imaginary rant of your choice) 🙂

    If it encourages kids to learn more about Physics and Astronomy or actually helps real researchers discover new things, or creates a massive enthusiast community dedicated to studying the night sky the way people go over google maps, or find us some UFOS ;-), now that would really be amazing.

    Like

  48. I think its very impressive as a well executed idea. Kudos to Jum Gray for his vision and MSR for building a “WOW thats cool” product.

    I can see why it has to be Windows only (lock-in) or Windows Vista only (Ultimate Extras perhaps) but… (insert imaginary rant of your choice) 🙂

    If it encourages kids to learn more about Physics and Astronomy or actually helps real researchers discover new things, or creates a massive enthusiast community dedicated to studying the night sky the way people go over google maps, or find us some UFOS ;-), now that would really be amazing.

    Like

  49. Robert, We have “well known” local problems. Just see the death records all over the world year over year, the rate is doubling.

    Yes I understand the relationship with universe(We should explore(slowly) the footprints of bigbang), I read lot of astronomy books and exited lot. But you know at the end of the day, to proof small small things, we need huge investment. In my opinion, we should slow down. speed up the research and solve the well known local problems…somepart of the world doesn’t have food, water…that’s an another story.

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  50. Robert, We have “well known” local problems. Just see the death records all over the world year over year, the rate is doubling.

    Yes I understand the relationship with universe(We should explore(slowly) the footprints of bigbang), I read lot of astronomy books and exited lot. But you know at the end of the day, to proof small small things, we need huge investment. In my opinion, we should slow down. speed up the research and solve the well known local problems…somepart of the world doesn’t have food, water…that’s an another story.

    Like

  51. still don’t see what makes this special. it’s what every free little astonomy program does, with the added benefit of having lots of data that comes with ms-funds.

    (yes, this point has probably come up dozends of times in commentary, but i couldn’t care less to read all those)

    Like

  52. still don’t see what makes this special. it’s what every free little astonomy program does, with the added benefit of having lots of data that comes with ms-funds.

    (yes, this point has probably come up dozends of times in commentary, but i couldn’t care less to read all those)

    Like

  53. I had the same reaction as many of the others that this is just another planetarium until you started talking about viewing things in different wave lengths. I am guessing since it is free that means that the data requires a internet connection. This tends to be a problem if you want to take it with you to a dark site. Beyond that I think I will alway prefer to go out to one of our club sites, enjoy the universe with friends and make my own images. They may not be of the same quality, but this type of program will only wow me for a couple of day. The real thing is much more enjoyable.

    My astrophotography album:
    http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/168994856LXByfn?vhost=outdoors

    Like

  54. I had the same reaction as many of the others that this is just another planetarium until you started talking about viewing things in different wave lengths. I am guessing since it is free that means that the data requires a internet connection. This tends to be a problem if you want to take it with you to a dark site. Beyond that I think I will alway prefer to go out to one of our club sites, enjoy the universe with friends and make my own images. They may not be of the same quality, but this type of program will only wow me for a couple of day. The real thing is much more enjoyable.

    My astrophotography album:
    http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/168994856LXByfn?vhost=outdoors

    Like

  55. So this is the BIIIGGG thing everyone has been so secretive about?

    I am not a big Astronomy kind a guy… I always like the Google Earth style application because I am into ocean sports and it allowed me to have a bit of a poke around to find new surf breaks without actually driving around in a car.

    … as I said I am not big on Astronomy and while this is sounds interesting I don’t think it will change my world. I guess I’ll have a look and form my own judgement.

    Although, remind me again where there is a business model in this?

    Like

  56. So this is the BIIIGGG thing everyone has been so secretive about?

    I am not a big Astronomy kind a guy… I always like the Google Earth style application because I am into ocean sports and it allowed me to have a bit of a poke around to find new surf breaks without actually driving around in a car.

    … as I said I am not big on Astronomy and while this is sounds interesting I don’t think it will change my world. I guess I’ll have a look and form my own judgement.

    Although, remind me again where there is a business model in this?

    Like

  57. To echo what Robert just said, I asked the same question, e.g. how are going to charge for the WWT, and the answer was that Microsoft was giving it to the world, so that people could build upon it. For those of you above who have indicated even a drop of cynicism or skepticism about the WWT, wait until you see it, there is nothing out there that I have seen that even comes close. It is an order of magnitude better, and simply dazzling…and really so much fun to experience. When I saw it, the people in the room were blown away.

    Like

  58. To echo what Robert just said, I asked the same question, e.g. how are going to charge for the WWT, and the answer was that Microsoft was giving it to the world, so that people could build upon it. For those of you above who have indicated even a drop of cynicism or skepticism about the WWT, wait until you see it, there is nothing out there that I have seen that even comes close. It is an order of magnitude better, and simply dazzling…and really so much fun to experience. When I saw it, the people in the room were blown away.

    Like

  59. OK, so the client is in C#/.NET? Then why not make it the Silverlight Killer App and make it available as a Windows Live service? Anyway, I hope the project makes it out of research.

    Like

  60. OK, so the client is in C#/.NET? Then why not make it the Silverlight Killer App and make it available as a Windows Live service? Anyway, I hope the project makes it out of research.

    Like

  61. “if you think this is what every free little astronomy program does then you are particularly clueless”

    Aw, don’t be so mean. It’s always hard to describe how cool something is without even a picture, and from your description, it *does* sound like one of the good free astronomy programs but with more graphics.

    P.S., I love how you sneak in pejorative words like “little” to describe mature, portable 100,000-line programs. But I won’t call you “lame”, even though you specifically asked for it. 🙂

    Like

  62. “if you think this is what every free little astronomy program does then you are particularly clueless”

    Aw, don’t be so mean. It’s always hard to describe how cool something is without even a picture, and from your description, it *does* sound like one of the good free astronomy programs but with more graphics.

    P.S., I love how you sneak in pejorative words like “little” to describe mature, portable 100,000-line programs. But I won’t call you “lame”, even though you specifically asked for it. 🙂

    Like

  63. Spring 2008, it says? This may well save me my subscription to Starry Night. 🙂

    I’ll just sit back and speculate about the tech they’re using underneath, or just ask them next week…

    Like

  64. Spring 2008, it says? This may well save me my subscription to Starry Night. 🙂

    I’ll just sit back and speculate about the tech they’re using underneath, or just ask them next week…

    Like

  65. Microsoft introduced the World Wide Telescope in TechFest 2007!

    A year ago nobody didn’t care about this telescope, so Microsoft paid you to blog about this, right?

    Like

  66. Microsoft introduced the World Wide Telescope in TechFest 2007!

    A year ago nobody didn’t care about this telescope, so Microsoft paid you to blog about this, right?

    Like

  67. Please, please. Someone do this the opposite way. Down.

    I want the same thing for a microscope. Zooming around in a cell, molecular perspectives, etc.

    Like

  68. “He clicked a button and we saw a completely different view of the same colliding galaxies.”
    Although I haven’t seen what Microsoft did, I can understand his reaction. I reacted in a similar way when I’ve been at Futuroscope (it’s in France).(http://www.futuroscope.com/eng/attraction-cosmos.php)

    The screen is a huge shpere taking you through a journey in cosmos. It’s really really breathtaking.

    Imagine experiencing what Microsoft did with a set of VR glasses and especially if what they did was in true 3D.

    Watch the video, maybe it could set you in the mood to understand

    http://www.futuroscope.com/eng/video.php?video=destination_cosmos

    Like

  69. “He clicked a button and we saw a completely different view of the same colliding galaxies.”
    Although I haven’t seen what Microsoft did, I can understand his reaction. I reacted in a similar way when I’ve been at Futuroscope (it’s in France).(http://www.futuroscope.com/eng/attraction-cosmos.php)

    The screen is a huge shpere taking you through a journey in cosmos. It’s really really breathtaking.

    Imagine experiencing what Microsoft did with a set of VR glasses and especially if what they did was in true 3D.

    Watch the video, maybe it could set you in the mood to understand

    http://www.futuroscope.com/eng/video.php?video=destination_cosmos

    Like

  70. @robert:

    I find it a little odd that you have been dangling the “it made me cry!” mystery product/experience in front of people for some weeks, finally let everyone in on the “secret”, and then criticise those who find it less than overwhelming, and tell you as much.

    To say, “you don’t know what you’re talking about – you’ve got to wait and experience it” is a bizarre response; either don’t write the “cry!” post in the first place and just show us the video when ready, or expect caustic comments on the way you overhype products. You cannot have your galaxy and eat it.

    All that said, it looks nifty.

    Like

  71. @robert:

    I find it a little odd that you have been dangling the “it made me cry!” mystery product/experience in front of people for some weeks, finally let everyone in on the “secret”, and then criticise those who find it less than overwhelming, and tell you as much.

    To say, “you don’t know what you’re talking about – you’ve got to wait and experience it” is a bizarre response; either don’t write the “cry!” post in the first place and just show us the video when ready, or expect caustic comments on the way you overhype products. You cannot have your galaxy and eat it.

    All that said, it looks nifty.

    Like

  72. And the WorldWide Telescope isn’t using SILVERLIGHT??!!??

    What a missed opportunity for Microsoft to show off their other great new technology.

    Like

  73. And the WorldWide Telescope isn’t using SILVERLIGHT??!!??

    What a missed opportunity for Microsoft to show off their other great new technology.

    Like

  74. I wonder if WWT will render the sky as nice as desktop apps such as Starry Night, TheSky6, etc. Those (especially Starry Night) are really really nice too.

    BTW Robert, in my spare time (huh, what’s that?) I’m an amateur astrophotographer, and you’re welcome to join us in one of our Star Parties 🙂 Not quite a photowalk because well, rather than walking you’ve got to stay put 🙂 but might be a fun experiece for you as well 🙂 Just drop me a line if interested!

    Like

  75. I wonder if WWT will render the sky as nice as desktop apps such as Starry Night, TheSky6, etc. Those (especially Starry Night) are really really nice too.

    BTW Robert, in my spare time (huh, what’s that?) I’m an amateur astrophotographer, and you’re welcome to join us in one of our Star Parties 🙂 Not quite a photowalk because well, rather than walking you’ve got to stay put 🙂 but might be a fun experiece for you as well 🙂 Just drop me a line if interested!

    Like

  76. Robert,

    Of course it doesn’t need a business model… however, they way you talked it up here in your blog and over on your QIK videos I expected something as big as the web itself.

    Yeah I know it will look great but unless you are really into astronomy this will be no more than a brief “yeah nice” for most people. So unless there is no other application for the technology I don’t know what the big fuzz is about.

    Remember, it’s about the content not the technology. There aren’t a lot of people reading your blog because they like the blogging technology.

    BTW, personally I thought QIK and the way you use it to deliver raw interviews is much more revolutionary than gazing at the stars Microsoft style…

    QIK to me is like a News Reality TV style… sometimes it seems to be better to see the whole raw story rather then the sanitised version Fox News wants you to see… actually, you probably should watch Fox News in first place.

    Like

  77. Robert,

    Of course it doesn’t need a business model… however, they way you talked it up here in your blog and over on your QIK videos I expected something as big as the web itself.

    Yeah I know it will look great but unless you are really into astronomy this will be no more than a brief “yeah nice” for most people. So unless there is no other application for the technology I don’t know what the big fuzz is about.

    Remember, it’s about the content not the technology. There aren’t a lot of people reading your blog because they like the blogging technology.

    BTW, personally I thought QIK and the way you use it to deliver raw interviews is much more revolutionary than gazing at the stars Microsoft style…

    QIK to me is like a News Reality TV style… sometimes it seems to be better to see the whole raw story rather then the sanitised version Fox News wants you to see… actually, you probably should watch Fox News in first place.

    Like

  78. Robert,

    Thank you for letting everyone know about this.
    This is the kind of technology that can change our future by educating our children.
    It takes a visionary to recognize this and be moved by it.
    Thanks for being one.

    Like

  79. Robert,

    Thank you for letting everyone know about this.
    This is the kind of technology that can change our future by educating our children.
    It takes a visionary to recognize this and be moved by it.
    Thanks for being one.

    Like

  80. Well, I’ll admit full on that I suspect that burst of rage I felt when I saw the description and then got to the “Windows Only” part, is probably the same one that Windows users must feel when Apple rolls something incredibly cool out with “Mac Only” attached to it. That means that this _does_ sound incredible.

    Not surprised by the “Windows only” option, because the cynicism centers in my brain had been whispering “MS=Win Only” at me from about 10 seconds in.

    It does sound _Very_ impressive. Or at least all those kids looked pretty impressed. But, admittedly, all I can think is: “Microsoft-Wide Telescope” Rather than “World Wide Telescope”.

    And Fear: Sure, this isn’t addressing earthquakes, drinking, dogs and cats living, Climactic change, or gingivitis, but it’s a possible tool or inspiration for the next generation of people who will. And I would suggest to you that the people who are going to work on such things, already are, or are trying to, and those that aren’t are not going to start because MS releases “Microsoft’s World Wide Litter/Carbon Emissions/Drunk Driver Detector”.

    Like

  81. Well, I’ll admit full on that I suspect that burst of rage I felt when I saw the description and then got to the “Windows Only” part, is probably the same one that Windows users must feel when Apple rolls something incredibly cool out with “Mac Only” attached to it. That means that this _does_ sound incredible.

    Not surprised by the “Windows only” option, because the cynicism centers in my brain had been whispering “MS=Win Only” at me from about 10 seconds in.

    It does sound _Very_ impressive. Or at least all those kids looked pretty impressed. But, admittedly, all I can think is: “Microsoft-Wide Telescope” Rather than “World Wide Telescope”.

    And Fear: Sure, this isn’t addressing earthquakes, drinking, dogs and cats living, Climactic change, or gingivitis, but it’s a possible tool or inspiration for the next generation of people who will. And I would suggest to you that the people who are going to work on such things, already are, or are trying to, and those that aren’t are not going to start because MS releases “Microsoft’s World Wide Litter/Carbon Emissions/Drunk Driver Detector”.

    Like

  82. Finnish: I was at the TechFest last year. It wasn’t even close to what they showed me this year. I not only wasn’t paid by Microsoft but Fast Company paid all my expenses to the trip up to Microsoft.

    Like

  83. Finnish: I was at the TechFest last year. It wasn’t even close to what they showed me this year. I not only wasn’t paid by Microsoft but Fast Company paid all my expenses to the trip up to Microsoft.

    Like

  84. “I think it might have been infrared, or maybe a look at radiation being kicked out.”

    Ouch! As if anyone needed another example of the failure of basic science education in this country…

    Like

  85. “I think it might have been infrared, or maybe a look at radiation being kicked out.”

    Ouch! As if anyone needed another example of the failure of basic science education in this country…

    Like

  86. This certainly is a giant step towards virtualization and augmented reality. What we are seeing right now is how data gets structured within its context. 5 years from now and you’ll have a kind of sixth sense. No keyword entering on your cell phone, but point and click. Whatever you are pointing at, whatever properties, whatever context you are looking for, or even weren’t aware of: whatever is known, thought, said, recorded or imagined about the subject or its certain part/property will be available in the appropriate way.

    These are exciting times. Virtual reality and reality are merging.

    By the way, there are virtual microscopes available.

    Like

  87. This certainly is a giant step towards virtualization and augmented reality. What we are seeing right now is how data gets structured within its context. 5 years from now and you’ll have a kind of sixth sense. No keyword entering on your cell phone, but point and click. Whatever you are pointing at, whatever properties, whatever context you are looking for, or even weren’t aware of: whatever is known, thought, said, recorded or imagined about the subject or its certain part/property will be available in the appropriate way.

    These are exciting times. Virtual reality and reality are merging.

    By the way, there are virtual microscopes available.

    Like

  88. WHAT???!

    Ever heard of Stellarium? Free and open source, detailed view of sky with full context and everything. Easy navigation, zoom, view from anywhere on earth or other planets, at any time… man… How could that make you cry? wuss

    Like

  89. WHAT???!

    Ever heard of Stellarium? Free and open source, detailed view of sky with full context and everything. Easy navigation, zoom, view from anywhere on earth or other planets, at any time… man… How could that make you cry? wuss

    Like

  90. expect caustic comments on the way you overhype products.

    Glad to be of service. 😉

    The BEST way to hype up something, is to let the product hype itself, as the “I am important, and you aren’t” closed beta’s won’t do that, just creates resentment, and people will dismiss on emotional grounds themselves. Plus, this “demo” isn’t even a real product. And, if it were a real product, for all but a small niche, it’s just a nice gee-whiz thing with no applicational use whatsoever. Plus, it’s from Microsoft, which as we all know, won’t go anywhere, be that as it may be, cool as all out.

    1. It made me cry.
    2. You must agree with me, even though you haven’t seen it. You must trust me.
    3. If you don’t agree, you aren’t credible, nor human, and barely fit to live. Plus you haven’t seen it.
    4. These people (important as they are) all agree. So obviously you are defective.
    5. You can agree, without having seen. But if you disagree, not having seen is bad. Your faith can only go in one direction.

    Man, with that one-sided temper-tantrum pouting argumentative style I woulda been kicked out Jr. High Debate. 😉

    Like

  91. expect caustic comments on the way you overhype products.

    Glad to be of service. 😉

    The BEST way to hype up something, is to let the product hype itself, as the “I am important, and you aren’t” closed beta’s won’t do that, just creates resentment, and people will dismiss on emotional grounds themselves. Plus, this “demo” isn’t even a real product. And, if it were a real product, for all but a small niche, it’s just a nice gee-whiz thing with no applicational use whatsoever. Plus, it’s from Microsoft, which as we all know, won’t go anywhere, be that as it may be, cool as all out.

    1. It made me cry.
    2. You must agree with me, even though you haven’t seen it. You must trust me.
    3. If you don’t agree, you aren’t credible, nor human, and barely fit to live. Plus you haven’t seen it.
    4. These people (important as they are) all agree. So obviously you are defective.
    5. You can agree, without having seen. But if you disagree, not having seen is bad. Your faith can only go in one direction.

    Man, with that one-sided temper-tantrum pouting argumentative style I woulda been kicked out Jr. High Debate. 😉

    Like

  92. Wow. You’ve really outdone yourself this time, scoble. It’s total vaporware.

    The “official site” is nothing but a 30-second commercial.

    You know what’s so amazing about Google maps? I can actually use it.

    Like

  93. Wow. You’ve really outdone yourself this time, scoble. It’s total vaporware.

    The “official site” is nothing but a 30-second commercial.

    You know what’s so amazing about Google maps? I can actually use it.

    Like

  94. Well when you see this when it comes out for once Google will be outdone, they have nothing that will ever come close to this

    Like

  95. Well when you see this when it comes out for once Google will be outdone, they have nothing that will ever come close to this

    Like

  96. “I think it might have been infrared, or maybe a look at radiation being kicked out.”

    Ouch! As if anyone needed another example of the failure of basic science education in this country…

    “Tom: sorry, that stuff went by so fast I don’t remember it all. I’d like you to watch something for an hour and then try to recall everything you saw.”

    Well, I do recall from primary school that “infrared” IS radiation. The line I quoted is an example of either abysmal comprehension of science, or abysmal grammar. Which of those do you wish to claim, mister “geek”?

    Like

  97. “I think it might have been infrared, or maybe a look at radiation being kicked out.”

    Ouch! As if anyone needed another example of the failure of basic science education in this country…

    “Tom: sorry, that stuff went by so fast I don’t remember it all. I’d like you to watch something for an hour and then try to recall everything you saw.”

    Well, I do recall from primary school that “infrared” IS radiation. The line I quoted is an example of either abysmal comprehension of science, or abysmal grammar. Which of those do you wish to claim, mister “geek”?

    Like

  98. anon (85): you have a point. But it’ll be out soon enough. Did you watch all the astronomers fawning over it in the video on the official site? Think that’s really just vaporware? Got it.

    Like

  99. anon (85): you have a point. But it’ll be out soon enough. Did you watch all the astronomers fawning over it in the video on the official site? Think that’s really just vaporware? Got it.

    Like

  100. Nice. Fantastic concept – I think.

    Robert, care to link to something that *directly* deals with this? Both of your links end up at what I guess MS thinks should be the “main” site….

    Which yields:

    (1) A very nice description of whatever this is.

    (2) A real nice H2 sorry, TD element with the text “Reactions to Worldwide Telescope”.

    So far? Not much help. No clarity. And yes, certainly – nothing remotely close to tearjerking.

    (3) A lovely flash player… or is that SVG or Quicktime? Whatever. Yet something else I have to click on – and patiently watch and listen to – about the “kid reaction”.

    This would be about the time I’m no longer looking for something cool (much less tearjerking) but am wondering if they realize how little the “get it”.

    Let’s go below the fold dig a little deeper….

    Ah shit – coming in Spring 2008. Sigh. Face it Robert, you blew it with your usual hyperbole – AGAIN.

    Want to make a fool out of me? Post a link to the cool stuff… to something that delivers on the concept you so easily had tears over.

    And do it without a defensive post like this. Oh yeah, and without a 1000 word hyperbolic post like that other one.

    Just simple DO it. No hype. No filler. Simply DO IT.

    Like

  101. Nice. Fantastic concept – I think.

    Robert, care to link to something that *directly* deals with this? Both of your links end up at what I guess MS thinks should be the “main” site….

    Which yields:

    (1) A very nice description of whatever this is.

    (2) A real nice H2 sorry, TD element with the text “Reactions to Worldwide Telescope”.

    So far? Not much help. No clarity. And yes, certainly – nothing remotely close to tearjerking.

    (3) A lovely flash player… or is that SVG or Quicktime? Whatever. Yet something else I have to click on – and patiently watch and listen to – about the “kid reaction”.

    This would be about the time I’m no longer looking for something cool (much less tearjerking) but am wondering if they realize how little the “get it”.

    Let’s go below the fold dig a little deeper….

    Ah shit – coming in Spring 2008. Sigh. Face it Robert, you blew it with your usual hyperbole – AGAIN.

    Want to make a fool out of me? Post a link to the cool stuff… to something that delivers on the concept you so easily had tears over.

    And do it without a defensive post like this. Oh yeah, and without a 1000 word hyperbolic post like that other one.

    Just simple DO it. No hype. No filler. Simply DO IT.

    Like

  102. I can understand why people are skeptical, particularly since MS is involved. If MS managed to eradicate world hunger, there are some people would still find reason to be cynical about it.

    I’ve messed around with a few planetarium-type apps, and I’ll be much pleased if MS can improve upon what’s already out there. I’ve been interested in astronomy since I was a little girl, and this kind of thing would have really thrilled me when I was a kid.

    The official website is currently lacking in content somewhat, but that’s no big deal to me. They just announced it. It’s too early to call it vaporware! The release date is fairly vague and hasn’t even come and gone yet anyhow.

    Like

  103. I can understand why people are skeptical, particularly since MS is involved. If MS managed to eradicate world hunger, there are some people would still find reason to be cynical about it.

    I’ve messed around with a few planetarium-type apps, and I’ll be much pleased if MS can improve upon what’s already out there. I’ve been interested in astronomy since I was a little girl, and this kind of thing would have really thrilled me when I was a kid.

    The official website is currently lacking in content somewhat, but that’s no big deal to me. They just announced it. It’s too early to call it vaporware! The release date is fairly vague and hasn’t even come and gone yet anyhow.

    Like

  104. Place your bets.

    5 to 1 – Robert never installs it.
    2 to 1 – Patrick would rather play WoW
    even money – Robert will tire of it by the time its publicly released, just like Kyte, WetPaint, Bug Labs…

    Like

  105. Place your bets.

    5 to 1 – Robert never installs it.
    2 to 1 – Patrick would rather play WoW
    even money – Robert will tire of it by the time its publicly released, just like Kyte, WetPaint, Bug Labs…

    Like

  106. simon: Bug Labs? Hardly tired of that. Wetpaint? You’ll see me use it again and again. I haven’t given up on that. Kyte? Well, Qik is live streaming. When Kyte gets live streaming maybe I’ll be back.

    Like

  107. simon: Bug Labs? Hardly tired of that. Wetpaint? You’ll see me use it again and again. I haven’t given up on that. Kyte? Well, Qik is live streaming. When Kyte gets live streaming maybe I’ll be back.

    Like

  108. Google Search — Live Search
    Google Earth — after a few years.. Microsoft Virtual Earth
    Google Maps – Live Maps (a few years later)
    iPod — Zune (released many years later after the iPod, in direct competition)

    And that’s just the yesteryears (Let’s not talk about Netscape or MacOS or Excel)

    Seriously, your tears, a video of some children’s awestruck faces and some ecstatic blog posts aren’t selling me anything at all.

    Even if the Telescope were worth every bit you say, I’d always have a funny nebulous thought in the back of my mind about Google Sky and a company that built its entire product line based on their adversaries’ popular products.

    So much for innovation.

    Like

  109. Google Search — Live Search
    Google Earth — after a few years.. Microsoft Virtual Earth
    Google Maps – Live Maps (a few years later)
    iPod — Zune (released many years later after the iPod, in direct competition)

    And that’s just the yesteryears (Let’s not talk about Netscape or MacOS or Excel)

    Seriously, your tears, a video of some children’s awestruck faces and some ecstatic blog posts aren’t selling me anything at all.

    Even if the Telescope were worth every bit you say, I’d always have a funny nebulous thought in the back of my mind about Google Sky and a company that built its entire product line based on their adversaries’ popular products.

    So much for innovation.

    Like

  110. @Tim Lee : Live Hotmail – Gmail

    Microsoft Office – Google Docs

    Windows Media Center – Apple TV

    Live Maps Traffic Feature – Google Maps Traffic Feature

    Live Messenger – Google Talk

    IE – Safari

    Keyhole – Google Earth

    Where2 – Google Maps

    So much for innovation there.

    But seriously, this will be great. Some of the WinLive stuff Microsoft has is actually better than Google, and I can’t wait to see this WWT.

    Oh, and the Zune for the most part beats the iPod Classics and all the other iPods below the Classic level.

    Like

  111. @Tim Lee : Live Hotmail – Gmail

    Microsoft Office – Google Docs

    Windows Media Center – Apple TV

    Live Maps Traffic Feature – Google Maps Traffic Feature

    Live Messenger – Google Talk

    IE – Safari

    Keyhole – Google Earth

    Where2 – Google Maps

    So much for innovation there.

    But seriously, this will be great. Some of the WinLive stuff Microsoft has is actually better than Google, and I can’t wait to see this WWT.

    Oh, and the Zune for the most part beats the iPod Classics and all the other iPods below the Classic level.

    Like

  112. Can’t wait to see it. I’m wondering about 3D capabilities, that is z-axis movement. Is the viewer pinned down to a single location when zooming? Well, I guess I’ll just have to wait and see 🙂

    Like

  113. Can’t wait to see it. I’m wondering about 3D capabilities, that is z-axis movement. Is the viewer pinned down to a single location when zooming? Well, I guess I’ll just have to wait and see 🙂

    Like

  114. Wow! It’s a great news. I am highly impressed with the innovation shown by Microsoft.

    Also, because of this software, common people would get access to mysterious universe.

    Like

  115. Wow! It’s a great news. I am highly impressed with the innovation shown by Microsoft.

    Also, because of this software, common people would get access to mysterious universe.

    Like

  116. “The official site is up”? All I see is a “coming soon” site. Nice link bait, though.

    Wait! Sorry, coming in Spring 2008. You say “wait until March 4th”. For what? More hype? Or is MS declaring March 4th the beginning of Spring?

    Like

  117. “The official site is up”? All I see is a “coming soon” site. Nice link bait, though.

    Wait! Sorry, coming in Spring 2008. You say “wait until March 4th”. For what? More hype? Or is MS declaring March 4th the beginning of Spring?

    Like

  118. “Why does something need a business model to be inspiring?”

    A question Ballmer seems to asking MS investors to swallow every day. Don’t know how much money was invested in this project, but I would venture a guess that some MS investors would be questioning the value of it relative to the bottom line.

    Like

  119. “Why does something need a business model to be inspiring?”

    A question Ballmer seems to asking MS investors to swallow every day. Don’t know how much money was invested in this project, but I would venture a guess that some MS investors would be questioning the value of it relative to the bottom line.

    Like

  120. scoble (re: 88): fair enough, I’ll judge it when it gets released. I think you’ve already done a disservice to Microsoft by overhyping it. NOTHING they do is really any good. I’ll make a prediction: it’s a graphics demo to numb weak minds and on closer inspection the inaccuracy of the mapping will be the talk of REAL astronomers.

    I notice you linked to MSN Maps but not to Google Maps. Any reason for that? Personally, I think Yahoo! maps are the best – especially their traffic and accident overlays. But technologically, Google’s maps are still the most exciting because they use regular image files and AJAX. The engineering behind that is awesome, even the javascript dragging. They were cutting edge, even as we’re seeing stuff like that appearing on shopping sites like bluefly (much smaller scaling problems, though – Google was simultaneously low-tech and brilliant).

    Yahoo! and Microsoft’s maps, by comparison, are boring because they use Adobe flash as the middleware provider for the interface.

    I’m sure you’ve seen this, but here’s a really informative site:
    http://www.google.com/moon/
    I always lose hours going over this.

    Like

  121. scoble (re: 88): fair enough, I’ll judge it when it gets released. I think you’ve already done a disservice to Microsoft by overhyping it. NOTHING they do is really any good. I’ll make a prediction: it’s a graphics demo to numb weak minds and on closer inspection the inaccuracy of the mapping will be the talk of REAL astronomers.

    I notice you linked to MSN Maps but not to Google Maps. Any reason for that? Personally, I think Yahoo! maps are the best – especially their traffic and accident overlays. But technologically, Google’s maps are still the most exciting because they use regular image files and AJAX. The engineering behind that is awesome, even the javascript dragging. They were cutting edge, even as we’re seeing stuff like that appearing on shopping sites like bluefly (much smaller scaling problems, though – Google was simultaneously low-tech and brilliant).

    Yahoo! and Microsoft’s maps, by comparison, are boring because they use Adobe flash as the middleware provider for the interface.

    I’m sure you’ve seen this, but here’s a really informative site:
    http://www.google.com/moon/
    I always lose hours going over this.

    Like

  122. #104: I can’t ever seem to get useful information out of Yahoo! maps, but they are most definitely “regular image files and AJAX”. It’s really just like Google Maps but not as polished. Oh, and obtrusive ads: “30 days of freshness or my money back” — woohoo!

    Like

  123. #104: I can’t ever seem to get useful information out of Yahoo! maps, but they are most definitely “regular image files and AJAX”. It’s really just like Google Maps but not as polished. Oh, and obtrusive ads: “30 days of freshness or my money back” — woohoo!

    Like

  124. Gushy piece, how could the writer possibly have
    missed Google Sky View. As usual little or no
    innovation from MS…just tired borrowings.

    Like

  125. Gushy piece, how could the writer possibly have
    missed Google Sky View. As usual little or no
    innovation from MS…just tired borrowings.

    Like

  126. TomC: I did NOT “miss” Google Sky View. Where did you get that idea? It is lame compared to the WorldWide Telescope.

    I really hate people like you who just come here to troll with absolutely no facts behind them. Geeesshh, go back to Digg.

    Like

  127. TomC: I did NOT “miss” Google Sky View. Where did you get that idea? It is lame compared to the WorldWide Telescope.

    I really hate people like you who just come here to troll with absolutely no facts behind them. Geeesshh, go back to Digg.

    Like

  128. This appears real cool…”Google Skyview” didnt impressed me as “Google Maps” or “Microsoft Live MAps” ..”Worldwide Telescope” may..I was always interested in the universe of which we are a minuscule part of…

    Like

  129. This appears real cool…”Google Skyview” didnt impressed me as “Google Maps” or “Microsoft Live MAps” ..”Worldwide Telescope” may..I was always interested in the universe of which we are a minuscule part of…

    Like

  130. Robert(@96),

    If I can have it Monday, why *this* post? To generate hype? Again, just simply DO it. Its one thing to tease the world with a preview that brings a tear to an A-lister’s eye, it another thing to either put up a stupid tease of a site or post about the afore-mentioned tease.

    This post could have waited until Monday. The site could have waited until Monday.

    That said, I’m looking forward to checking it out.

    Like

  131. Robert(@96),

    If I can have it Monday, why *this* post? To generate hype? Again, just simply DO it. Its one thing to tease the world with a preview that brings a tear to an A-lister’s eye, it another thing to either put up a stupid tease of a site or post about the afore-mentioned tease.

    This post could have waited until Monday. The site could have waited until Monday.

    That said, I’m looking forward to checking it out.

    Like

  132. “Yeah, I guess light is radiation, but it’s not the kind of radiation I was thinking of (like gamma rays or X rays). Infrared’s entry on Wikipedia says it’s electromagnetic radiation:”

    Ouch redux! Visible light, infrared, gamma rays, x-rays, radio waves, etc., etc. are ALL electromagnetic radiation, varying only in wavelength.

    When I was growing up (in the 50s and 60s), this was primary school stuff. Now, apparently, even college graduates don’t understand it, hence my caustic remark about the state of American education. How are we going to compete with the Chinese in the marketplace if our self-styled “geeks” can’t even understand, let alone articulate, the differences between, say, an IR and an RF remote control?

    Like

  133. “Yeah, I guess light is radiation, but it’s not the kind of radiation I was thinking of (like gamma rays or X rays). Infrared’s entry on Wikipedia says it’s electromagnetic radiation:”

    Ouch redux! Visible light, infrared, gamma rays, x-rays, radio waves, etc., etc. are ALL electromagnetic radiation, varying only in wavelength.

    When I was growing up (in the 50s and 60s), this was primary school stuff. Now, apparently, even college graduates don’t understand it, hence my caustic remark about the state of American education. How are we going to compete with the Chinese in the marketplace if our self-styled “geeks” can’t even understand, let alone articulate, the differences between, say, an IR and an RF remote control?

    Like

  134. ok… so I watched the TED presentation… yeah nice… already lost interest by the end of the video.

    I guess I’ll have a play around with it when it comes out.

    I am just wondering if perhaps the whole star gazing thing is a North American geeks wet dream. It sure didn’t make me cry.

    Like

  135. ok… so I watched the TED presentation… yeah nice… already lost interest by the end of the video.

    I guess I’ll have a play around with it when it comes out.

    I am just wondering if perhaps the whole star gazing thing is a North American geeks wet dream. It sure didn’t make me cry.

    Like

  136. All the (over)hype for something Google already released in august of last year? Have you ever even heard of Google Sky?

    I am curious though: what will be the same and what will be different in WWT?

    Like

  137. All the (over)hype for something Google already released in august of last year? Have you ever even heard of Google Sky?

    I am curious though: what will be the same and what will be different in WWT?

    Like

  138. ok… so I watched the TED presentation… yeah nice… already lost interest by the end of the video.

    Yeah, TED presentations always have that elitist self-evident swarmy tact, never doing much in way of rigid persuasion or data-analysis. They just assume that if you remain emotionally distant (to their pet topics of the moment) that you aren’t of the “cult”, i.e. people that “get it”. It’s not exactly peer review, but then none of the celebrity-styled Davosish conferences ever are. Watched a slew of TEDs for an editing project, and was half dead at the end.

    But something I noticed…

    You gotta wonder about the kooks at some of those conferences, San Franish liberal-hippie weenies that end up supporting what they hate, as the other side adopts a few of their pet projects. Facist dictatorships murdering half their population, are A-OK, if said dictatorship is helping global warming or ‘bridging the digital divide’ by handing out few wind-up laptops.

    Like

  139. ok… so I watched the TED presentation… yeah nice… already lost interest by the end of the video.

    Yeah, TED presentations always have that elitist self-evident swarmy tact, never doing much in way of rigid persuasion or data-analysis. They just assume that if you remain emotionally distant (to their pet topics of the moment) that you aren’t of the “cult”, i.e. people that “get it”. It’s not exactly peer review, but then none of the celebrity-styled Davosish conferences ever are. Watched a slew of TEDs for an editing project, and was half dead at the end.

    But something I noticed…

    You gotta wonder about the kooks at some of those conferences, San Franish liberal-hippie weenies that end up supporting what they hate, as the other side adopts a few of their pet projects. Facist dictatorships murdering half their population, are A-OK, if said dictatorship is helping global warming or ‘bridging the digital divide’ by handing out few wind-up laptops.

    Like

  140. It sounds like a cool project. Unfortunately the official site is just what MS does best, which is to make self-aggrandizing videos set to trashy dance music talking about how great something is instead of showing it. This isn’t to detract from your experience, Robert, but I just get so sick of MS marketing icing being 90% of the cake.

    Like

  141. It sounds like a cool project. Unfortunately the official site is just what MS does best, which is to make self-aggrandizing videos set to trashy dance music talking about how great something is instead of showing it. This isn’t to detract from your experience, Robert, but I just get so sick of MS marketing icing being 90% of the cake.

    Like

  142. This is that new technology that will change our lives. This is that all elusive software that makes us think and see. This is that next big thing! The English language does not have the words to describe what this technology means to me and what I believe it will mean to our tiny grain of sand that we live on. It is such a shame that Carl Sagan didn’t get to see this.

    Like

  143. This is that new technology that will change our lives. This is that all elusive software that makes us think and see. This is that next big thing! The English language does not have the words to describe what this technology means to me and what I believe it will mean to our tiny grain of sand that we live on. It is such a shame that Carl Sagan didn’t get to see this.

    Like

  144. This whole “it made me cry” business is pure hype. Yes, the WWT is a really neat idea, but everything that it claims to do has been done on a smaller scale in other astronomy software…. just not on the web. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really looking forward to seeing this… just stop it with the crying business. We all know it didn’t. You’re just attracting attention and hype.

    Like

  145. This whole “it made me cry” business is pure hype. Yes, the WWT is a really neat idea, but everything that it claims to do has been done on a smaller scale in other astronomy software…. just not on the web. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really looking forward to seeing this… just stop it with the crying business. We all know it didn’t. You’re just attracting attention and hype.

    Like

  146. “It is such a shame that Carl Sagan didn’t get to see this.”

    But he saw billions & billions of other things. 🙂

    Like

  147. “It is such a shame that Carl Sagan didn’t get to see this.”

    But he saw billions & billions of other things. 🙂

    Like

  148. Come on man, these galaxies are millions of light years away.. this information is very outdated.

    P.S. You are the Joan Rivers of the Internet!

    Like

  149. Come on man, these galaxies are millions of light years away.. this information is very outdated.

    P.S. You are the Joan Rivers of the Internet!

    Like

  150. I cried as well in 2003 when I first downloaded Stellarium. I’m sure you would have known this freesoftware project earlier, you would not have this reaction for microsoft’s product: their demo at TED give me the impression nothing is new with this product.

    Like

  151. I cried as well in 2003 when I first downloaded Stellarium. I’m sure you would have known this freesoftware project earlier, you would not have this reaction for microsoft’s product: their demo at TED give me the impression nothing is new with this product.

    Like

  152. Stellarium Lover: Stellarium is cool, but it’s not the World Wide Telescope. You really need to watch the video on Monday before you try to hype up Stellarium on the WWT’s back.

    Like

  153. Stellarium Lover: Stellarium is cool, but it’s not the World Wide Telescope. You really need to watch the video on Monday before you try to hype up Stellarium on the WWT’s back.

    Like

  154. Robert – check out screenshots of the Uniview visualization platform at http://www.scalingtheuniverse.com. It was developed through the Hayden Planetarium initially along with Partiview, and is installed at numerous digital planetariums and portable dome around the world. It visualizes the NASA Digital Universe Atlas, enabling interactive representations of the entire observable Universe out to the Cosmic Microwave Background. Unfortunately there’s no downloadable version, so you’ll need to head to one of their installations to see it.

    I give Tours of the Universe with this platform within portable immersive domes regularly – as do numerous others – and the response always includes gasping and crying front wide-eyed and slackjawed observers.

    Does WWT provide true 3D + Time for the objects? The TED video looks like zooming and panning, but is it a navigable 3D space? Trying to understand the distinctions.

    Like

  155. Robert – check out screenshots of the Uniview visualization platform at http://www.scalingtheuniverse.com. It was developed through the Hayden Planetarium initially along with Partiview, and is installed at numerous digital planetariums and portable dome around the world. It visualizes the NASA Digital Universe Atlas, enabling interactive representations of the entire observable Universe out to the Cosmic Microwave Background. Unfortunately there’s no downloadable version, so you’ll need to head to one of their installations to see it.

    I give Tours of the Universe with this platform within portable immersive domes regularly – as do numerous others – and the response always includes gasping and crying front wide-eyed and slackjawed observers.

    Does WWT provide true 3D + Time for the objects? The TED video looks like zooming and panning, but is it a navigable 3D space? Trying to understand the distinctions.

    Like

  156. I watched the demo from TED and I can totally see why it brought tears to your eyes man. There’s nothing more beautiful than the universe itself, and to have such a powerful and simple way of bringing it to everyone really is just wonderful…

    Like

  157. I watched the demo from TED and I can totally see why it brought tears to your eyes man. There’s nothing more beautiful than the universe itself, and to have such a powerful and simple way of bringing it to everyone really is just wonderful…

    Like

  158. “2. It runs only on Windows. It’s coded in C#/.NET, you’ll meet the developer in our video and you’ll hear more about that then.”

    I’m shocked. Totally shocked.

    I think I tried Celestia around 2000, but I see the copyright on the web site dates to 2001 so it might have been as late as that.

    I tried it on Linux. It didn’t require any special software or hardware. Faster video cards were nice, but not essential. Maybe if you had seen it back then you would have cried.

    But there was no PR for it. No flashy video released months in advance hyping it up.

    Think how much sooner the kids of the world would have had something like this were they not waiting for Microsoft to release it.

    That’s what makes me cry.

    I remember being able to switch from one point of view to another (on Earth or elsewhere). Being able to fly anywhere in the visible galaxy at light speed or beyond, improving your intuition about starting and stopping in space as opposed to earthbound vehicles.

    Will the MS version do some new things? Probably. Is the concept essentially new? No. Is there any reason it should require Vista? Yes, it’s less a Research product and more a Marketing tool.

    Like

  159. “2. It runs only on Windows. It’s coded in C#/.NET, you’ll meet the developer in our video and you’ll hear more about that then.”

    I’m shocked. Totally shocked.

    I think I tried Celestia around 2000, but I see the copyright on the web site dates to 2001 so it might have been as late as that.

    I tried it on Linux. It didn’t require any special software or hardware. Faster video cards were nice, but not essential. Maybe if you had seen it back then you would have cried.

    But there was no PR for it. No flashy video released months in advance hyping it up.

    Think how much sooner the kids of the world would have had something like this were they not waiting for Microsoft to release it.

    That’s what makes me cry.

    I remember being able to switch from one point of view to another (on Earth or elsewhere). Being able to fly anywhere in the visible galaxy at light speed or beyond, improving your intuition about starting and stopping in space as opposed to earthbound vehicles.

    Will the MS version do some new things? Probably. Is the concept essentially new? No. Is there any reason it should require Vista? Yes, it’s less a Research product and more a Marketing tool.

    Like

  160. Wait till Monday till you see the demo! Then you’ll know
    OH, you don’t believe??…Wait till April till you see the beta version! Then you’ll know
    OH, you still don’t believe?? Wait till June for the proper release! Then you’ll know
    OH, you still don’t believe??…. You’re a dumbass and don’t understand!

    Like

  161. Wait till Monday till you see the demo! Then you’ll know
    OH, you don’t believe??…Wait till April till you see the beta version! Then you’ll know
    OH, you still don’t believe?? Wait till June for the proper release! Then you’ll know
    OH, you still don’t believe??…. You’re a dumbass and don’t understand!

    Like

  162. Both Microsoft World Wide Telescope and Google Sky are possible by a running international effort, the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (www.ivoa.net). What Microsoft and Google have done is build massive multi-resolution caches of that data, so that wide sky queries are handled by the wide-angle cache, and the narrower queries are handled by the services themselves.

    The good thing is that these visualization tools are very good in themselves for diffusion and vulgarisation, while scientific tools such as the Aladin Sky Atlas (http://aladin.u-strasbg.fr/) also become available to anyone… with data accesible by everyone.

    Like

  163. Both Microsoft World Wide Telescope and Google Sky are possible by a running international effort, the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (www.ivoa.net). What Microsoft and Google have done is build massive multi-resolution caches of that data, so that wide sky queries are handled by the wide-angle cache, and the narrower queries are handled by the services themselves.

    The good thing is that these visualization tools are very good in themselves for diffusion and vulgarisation, while scientific tools such as the Aladin Sky Atlas (http://aladin.u-strasbg.fr/) also become available to anyone… with data accesible by everyone.

    Like

  164. What makes me cry are all the wintards that think Microsoft is capable of anything but monopolistic business, stealing, ripping-off other’s work, etc…

    Windoze only? You’re kidding, right? Where is the pathetic version for ‘other platforms’ (as if more than one survived them?) As if anyone in their right mind ever used I.E. in the first place, let alone now.

    There is absolutely no reason for this to be windows only. It is yet another instance of Microsoft taking (from the likes of NASA this time) and using it to push their monopoly.

    Like

  165. What makes me cry are all the wintards that think Microsoft is capable of anything but monopolistic business, stealing, ripping-off other’s work, etc…

    Windoze only? You’re kidding, right? Where is the pathetic version for ‘other platforms’ (as if more than one survived them?) As if anyone in their right mind ever used I.E. in the first place, let alone now.

    There is absolutely no reason for this to be windows only. It is yet another instance of Microsoft taking (from the likes of NASA this time) and using it to push their monopoly.

    Like

  166. What a joke. Typical Microsoft Hype. Once everyone has it downloaded I’m sure they will start charging for it as usual. Very poor resolution. We are only 250,000 miles from the moon and in planet view that is the best they can do ? Google would let us look at all the debris we left in the Sea of Tranquility. The resolution of Earth isn’t 1/100th as good as Google Earth. I am not impressed at all…..Thanks for nothing Bill !!

    Like

  167. What a joke. Typical Microsoft Hype. Once everyone has it downloaded I’m sure they will start charging for it as usual. Very poor resolution. We are only 250,000 miles from the moon and in planet view that is the best they can do ? Google would let us look at all the debris we left in the Sea of Tranquility. The resolution of Earth isn’t 1/100th as good as Google Earth. I am not impressed at all…..Thanks for nothing Bill !!

    Like

  168. Try Slooh.com…….much better. It’s not free like this one is, but it’s also LVE images, not archived from other scopes. And for the price ($100/year unlimited usage), it’s an unbeatable telescope investment. Trust me, I know. I’ve been an astronomer for almost 25 years & thr latest scope that I bought cost 10X as much as Slooh & isn’t NEAR what Slooh offers. The same set-up would have run me about 15,000-20,000 $$$.

    Best part too is that you can control the scopes PERSONALLY & tell them what you want to look at, then snap pics. Second best part is that you getcontrol of MULTIPLE scopes withthe yearly unlimited package. Right now we have 2 off the coast of Africa. An observatory has been rented already in Australia & the scope will be added soon. And there’s 1 more, soon to be 2, getting ready to come on-line in Chile.

    Like

  169. Try Slooh.com…….much better. It’s not free like this one is, but it’s also LVE images, not archived from other scopes. And for the price ($100/year unlimited usage), it’s an unbeatable telescope investment. Trust me, I know. I’ve been an astronomer for almost 25 years & thr latest scope that I bought cost 10X as much as Slooh & isn’t NEAR what Slooh offers. The same set-up would have run me about 15,000-20,000 $$$.

    Best part too is that you can control the scopes PERSONALLY & tell them what you want to look at, then snap pics. Second best part is that you getcontrol of MULTIPLE scopes withthe yearly unlimited package. Right now we have 2 off the coast of Africa. An observatory has been rented already in Australia & the scope will be added soon. And there’s 1 more, soon to be 2, getting ready to come on-line in Chile.

    Like

  170. Trust me, you don’t see what Nasa see’s. That resolution of the moon is a slam dunk for me. Although I’m sure the unaware are sufficiently lulled.

    Like

  171. Trust me, you don’t see what Nasa see’s. That resolution of the moon is a slam dunk for me. Although I’m sure the unaware are sufficiently lulled.

    Like

  172. Muy Interesante que tengo que hacer para obtener el programa y poder utilisar este telescopio

    Like

  173. Muy Interesante que tengo que hacer para obtener el programa y poder utilisar este telescopio

    Like

  174. I cry too because ms make things that look “beautiful” and then do sweet fuckall. Yay. For once, a complete product would be nice. Feel free to start with XP and move on to everything else. Notepad is ok.

    Like

  175. I cry too because ms make things that look “beautiful” and then do sweet fuckall. Yay. For once, a complete product would be nice. Feel free to start with XP and move on to everything else. Notepad is ok.

    Like

  176. WWT is absolutely fantastic. I think what people are missing is it puts the data into the hands of everyone – even the scientific FITS images can be pulled down without having to know apis/integrations or which website to go to at what time of day and whom to request them from.

    As an amateur astronomer having a tool like this for free has finally put the universe into the hands of many more people. I hope the scope manufacturers quickly embrace it as a tool to not only allow scope controls but integrate their learning, training and user experiences into it so people can share them.

    Google sky doesn’t compare, doesn’t have the astronomy, astrometry, photometry or science aspect to allow one to do research and publish research and access everyone elses research at the same time.

    People are terrible naive about the functionality of this app. TERRIBLY.

    Like

  177. WWT is absolutely fantastic. I think what people are missing is it puts the data into the hands of everyone – even the scientific FITS images can be pulled down without having to know apis/integrations or which website to go to at what time of day and whom to request them from.

    As an amateur astronomer having a tool like this for free has finally put the universe into the hands of many more people. I hope the scope manufacturers quickly embrace it as a tool to not only allow scope controls but integrate their learning, training and user experiences into it so people can share them.

    Google sky doesn’t compare, doesn’t have the astronomy, astrometry, photometry or science aspect to allow one to do research and publish research and access everyone elses research at the same time.

    People are terrible naive about the functionality of this app. TERRIBLY.

    Like

  178. This is late, but…

    @Tom Burke: When Scoble wrote “radiation”, he was probably referring to “ionizing radiation”, which is the most common use of the word “radiation” according to Wikipedia.

    I agree that it is a very sad commentary that he doesn’t seem to understand that gamma rays and X-rays are EM radiation, just like infrared.

    This is what happens when the mass media dumbs down science. “Ionizing radiation” simply becomes “radiation”, and everyone forgets about non-ionizing radiation. As another example, power (measured in watts) and energy (watt-hours or joules) are often confused in the mass media. For example, this article
    http://www.forbes.com/2001/04/02/0330power.html
    claims that a clothes dryer uses “100 watts an hour”. That’s kind of like driving 60 MPH per hour, isn’t it?

    Like

  179. This is late, but…

    @Tom Burke: When Scoble wrote “radiation”, he was probably referring to “ionizing radiation”, which is the most common use of the word “radiation” according to Wikipedia.

    I agree that it is a very sad commentary that he doesn’t seem to understand that gamma rays and X-rays are EM radiation, just like infrared.

    This is what happens when the mass media dumbs down science. “Ionizing radiation” simply becomes “radiation”, and everyone forgets about non-ionizing radiation. As another example, power (measured in watts) and energy (watt-hours or joules) are often confused in the mass media. For example, this article
    http://www.forbes.com/2001/04/02/0330power.html
    claims that a clothes dryer uses “100 watts an hour”. That’s kind of like driving 60 MPH per hour, isn’t it?

    Like

  180. i have microsoft worldwide telescope and i saw 2 tihngs that must be flawed or a mystery of the world…on search type in:
    RA:14h31m30s
    DEC:+20:15:03
    also
    RA:23h08m23s
    DEC:-29:49:07

    Like

  181. i have microsoft worldwide telescope and i saw 2 tihngs that must be flawed or a mystery of the world…on search type in:
    RA:14h31m30s
    DEC:+20:15:03
    also
    RA:23h08m23s
    DEC:-29:49:07

    Like

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