Microsoft Puts Universe on Your Desktop

Astronomers swoon over internet stargazing program
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2008 2:55 PM CDT
Microsoft researcher Curtis Wong demonstrates Microsoft Corp.'s "WorldWide Telescope," Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at TechFest, Microsoft's annual display of experimental technology, in Redmond, Wash.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Stargazers got a new toy today, when Microsoft unveiled WorldWide Telescope, a free new program that gives armchair astronomers an unprecedented look at the stars. The program brings Internet space programs to new heights, rendering complete 3D models of thousands of galactic destinations, the New York Times reports.

“Exploring the virtual universe is incredibly smooth and seamless like a top-of-the-line computer game, but also the science is correct,” said one astronomy professor. “No sacrifices have been made. It just feels as if you are in it.” Google has its own space exploration software, but the arch-rivals profess mutual respect here. It “says a lot about the interests of the people in both companies,” said one Google executive.