A new space race

WOW – I installed Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope the other day and I’ve got to say it is absolutely awesome.

I always wanted a telescope but could never justify the cost when there are always more pressing priorities.

With WWT I can scan the entire night sky and zoom in on countless near and deep sky objects from NASA’s huge archive of images.

Initial impressions are that it beats the pants off of Google Sky but some commentators see this as the start of a different kind of space race that will herald in a new era in space research.

If you watch the Guided Tour on the Orion Nebula you can actually see protoplanetary discs forming around young stars, it’s that amazing you are able to see that level of detail right there in Orion’s belt – as if I wasn’t in awe enough when I looked up at the night sky this adds a whole new hypnotically beautiful dimension to it.

These increasingly powerful tools coupled with an increasing number of eyes looking outward has enormous potential for expanding our knowledge of our universe, and I always think it is really cool when technology enables your regular ‘joe’ to discover more about our fascinating arena of reality.


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