WorldWide Telescope gone 3D – Equinox Beta available now

Yesterday Kip added a nice bonus liveblog covering the keynote of Rick Rash from Microsoft Research, which announced an update to their space-exploration software WorldWide Telescope. Codenamed the “Autumnal Equinox Beta”, the update now features a 3D-engine that renders our Solar System and the Milky Way in complete 3D. Additionally, according to the team, this update also includes the following new features:

• Tour animation – text and inserted images can expand, contract, move, spin, fade, etc within a slide.
• WWT can now be localized to your language of choice. To begin with, we’ve added a second language – Simplified Chinese.
• Hundreds of new images from the Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer space telescopes
• A new Astrophotography section, with images from renowned astrophotographer Jack Newton.
• New surveys : GALEX in the ultraviolet band, Fermi in the gamma-ray band, as well as sixteen surveys about the Cosmic Microwave Background from the WMAP Science Team’s Five Year release.
• Fifty new panoramas of Mars and the Moon, from the Phoenix, Spirit, Opportunity, Pathfinder, and Apollo missions.

Here’s a view of Saturn using WorldWide Telescope’s 3D solar system:

WWT_Saturn 

Soon in the next month the WorldWide Telescope will also allow users to get their own astronomical data and images into WorldWide Telescope format, and to produce WTML files – the XML format that WWT uses, and allowing them to set up their own WWT Communities online.

You can get the latest version over at the WorldWide Telescope website.