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Microsoft Launches the WorldWide Telescope

The WorldWide Telescope (WWT) project is an ambitious effort to create a Web-accessible, digital map of the entire sky. Based on a database of high-resolution photos from telescopes across the globe, WWT hopes to become the Google Earth of the night sky.

It's an intriguing idea that could inspire a new generation of people to explore the cosmos. Microsoft hopes to launch WWT, currently in private alpha, some time in the spring.

One interesting side note: The genesis of the project comes from work by former Microsoft Research Fellow Jim Gray, who went missing last year while sailing outside the San Francisco Bay.

Gray was well-regarded for his work in the area of database and transaction systems. With WWT evolving from Gray's work on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the SkyServer project, it would seem that we're still benefiting from Gray's efforts, long after his passing.

Are you excited about the WWT project? E-mail me at and let me know your thoughts.

Posted by Michael Desmond on 03/06/2008 at 1:15 PM

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