Microsoft WorldWide Telescope 2.1 is a great application. It is a virtual telescope. You could see almost all the known stars, galaxies, nebulae and planets. It is really cool to zoom through the sky, if you are interested in astronomy. This will be a great application for schools, especially when you consider that it is a freeware. One main problem is that it needs a powerful graphics card to fully utilize its graphical capabilities. This is a Web 2.0 application. This program is like "Celestia", which is actually open source. But WorldWide Telescope has a lot of other capabilities.
The images are mainly taken from the Hubble Space Telescope. You can zoom in to any star you like and the images get better as they are downloaded automatically.
What I really liked was the guided tours. There are a lot of guided tours which are created by this application. It shows you around the world with audio describing different starts, galaxies, black holes, etc. As the program has the capability of going back or forth in time, it is really easy to create such guided tours.
Even if it needs a broadband connection for a proper working, the data to be downloaded is small. The guided tours are not much big in size. But if your internet connection is slow, you will miss a lot of detail like the pictures about which is being spoken (as it cannot stop the audio to wait for the image to be downloaded).
- Realtime view of the known universe
- Data to be downloaded is small
- Can go back in time
- A lots of guided tours
- Web 2.0 application
- Easy to use
- Needs a good graphic card for performance