The Microsoft Research Team has released an updated version of WorldWide Telescope for free download. The new release is jammed packed with features including my favorite, 3D Solar System and Universe View (plug in your X-Box controller prior to running WWT for fully immersive 3D tranquility). If there was ever a way to grasp how little we really are, this will certainly help put things in perspective. You thought flying around in Virtual Earth 3D was cool? Wait until you fly around the known universe in 3D.
Here’s a list of the features:
- 3D Navigation from Earth, thru the Solar system, to the stars and out beyond the Milky Way, rendered in real time with lighting. This mode is just mind-blowing (helmet required)!
- More than double the data from the initial release. Tons of new studies, surveys, panoramas and more.
- Enhanced animation in tours. Just set position and properties for start and end of slide and WWT animates the tweens for you.
- Multi-level undo/redo in tour authoring.
- Copy/paste from Microsoft Office and more.
- Full screen mode (F11 toggles) + make your own desktop backdrops with a click of the mouse.
- Improvements & bug fixes across all features of the product.
- Silverlight tour player. Mac owners take note – install Vista on a Virtual PC.
- Localization packs and tool for Self-Localization. Allows for universities and other organizations to create localized user interface and data.
- Preliminary Chinese language pack.
- XBOX 360 controller & 3D Connexion support
You’ll need a 1GB RAM, Dual Core PC with a GPU with 256MB dedicated VRAM for best results. It will run on lower end hardware, but with slower frame rates and some visual issues.
The WWT team has also set up a couple guided tours which highlight the 3D Universe experience. Check out the WWT 3D Release Demo and the Apollo Tour. Both amazing.
Download it. It’s money.