Tuesday, May 13, 2008

MS WorldWide Telescope for Mac?

Earlier this morning I spotted (via Twitter) that Microsoft's World Wide Telescope had finally been released...

After wading through their flash based website to get to the download page I found out that the "Mac version" is a version that runs under Windows in Boot Camp. Which isn't exactly a Mac version at all, a bit of false advertising there I think...

At which point I was really interested to see Roy Williams quoted as saying,

...a beautiful platform for explaining and getting people excited about astronomy, and I think the professional astronomers will come to use it as well - Roy Williams

While it is more common in the US, I don't think I know a single British astronomer that owns a Windows box outside of the VO community. In fact someone else here at Exeter said that Roy's quote caused them an "...ironic chuckle". Which is pretty much how WWT has been received. Nobody here can try it because nobody has a Windows machine, we either run Linux or OSX.

Since the release this morning I've seen conflicting reports about WWT. The Register, which admittedly isn't generally acknowledged to be particularly pro-Microsoft, just couldn't get it to work while Stefan Geens over on Ogle Earth liked it a lot. So your milage may vary, but mine won't. It'll stay firmly at zero. I don't own a Windows machine, and I'm unlikely to go through the pain of installing Windows on my Mac to try it out...

Update: Reports of problems under Vista...

Update: Looks like I'm not the only one a bit underwhelmed by the "Mac version" of WWT.


  1. WWT is wonderful stuff, it is by no means a chuckle. But whatever.

  2. Hi Alasdair--As you know, there's now good news for Mac-user-astronomy fans... a pretty darn great web-version release of WWT for *any* platform is now in early (alpha) release. It's already available for download at worldwidetelescope.org. With no offense to Google, it's really fantastic, especially at the poles & in terms of smooth zoom & pan. Also, the Tours all work, and a shift-click at any position gets users to Wikipedia, Journal articles, NVO searches for that position & more.