We can already look at Earth with Virtual Earth, but what about the Sky? Microsoft doesn’t have anything for that yet. Yes, that’s right, YET! This might change on February 27th at the TED Conference in Monterey California:
A source close to Microsoft says the company will launch new desktop software called WorldWide Telescope on February 27 at the TED Conference in Monterey, California….
The service will be accessed through a downloadable application – Windows only for now is what we hear. Users will be able to pan around the nighttime sky and zoom as far in to any one area as the data will allow. Microsoft is said to be tapping the Hubble telescope as well as ten or so earth bound telescopes around the world for data. When you find an area you like, you can switch to a number of different views, such as infrared and non-visible light.
From what we hear, WorldWide Telescope will be significantly better than Google Sky, which launched last August as part of Google Earth… The key is the user interface, which is seamless as you move around the sky and zoom in and out. Much of the Photosynth technology is said to have been used for the project. And the sheer amount of data Microsoft is accessing, said to be measured in the terabits, gives that great user interface something to show off…
Very interesting if you are into stargazing or astronomy. I hope it will be easier to use than Google Sky, I just had a first look at that today and it’s still confusing me…