WorldWide Telescope for powerdome

Visualization Environment

WorldWide Telescope for powerdome

WorldWide Telescope in the Planetarium

WorldWide Telescope (WWT) was a research project to visualize astronomical and other 3D data developed by Microsoft. The software is released to third parties to develop it further. 

Users can navigate through the starry sky as seen from the Earth, explore its objects, travel across the solar system, and tour the universe in three dimensions. The database ranges from satellite images providing a detailed view of Earth to the solar system to the cosmic microwave background. Use WWT to visualize Earth‘s surface in marvellous 3D detail with its physical features, or in a cartographic mode. Fly over the trough faults and craters of Mars, or explore the maria and highlands of the Moon. As a strong point, WWT allows the positionally accurate integration of sky photographs taken through professional telescopes. 

The application is integrated in powerdome and can be controlled with the ShowManager und powerdome Control. Start a tour with just a click in the Web interface. 

WWT for multichannel projection

Although in principle it can be played on domes with multichannel projection systems, WWT has made it into few planetariums so far. This is on account of the software’s structure, which lacks some mechanisms that are essential for visually appealing multichannel performance. Also, it is flawed in many places. To make WWT really useful for planetariums, ZEISS has spared no effort to revise the software. The modified version – called “WorldWideTelescope for powerdome” – can now be used with our multichannel projection systems. 

Cluster and desktop versions for powerdome

“WorldWide Telescope for powerdome” is available in two versions: a cluster version for presentations on the planetarium dome, and a desk-top version for free use.

It is in the nature of an open-source software to have bugs. The use of WWT for multichannel fulldome systems is governed by special requirements, which the freely available original version satisfies but insufficiently. ZEISS has made many corrections, optimizations and adaptations to the software to enable fairly smooth multichannel performance. Using this version is subject to license.

The desk-top version has the same scope of functions and is freely available (for download, see the margin column). Use this version to prepare live presentations and create tours you can later present in the planetarium with the cluster version. Give high-school students and hobby astronomers the possibility to develop shows with WWT off-line and to present them on the planetarium dome. 

Modes for specific presentations

In the Explorer mode, you can use WWT for powerdome as an interactive digital planetarium. Go to a particular vantage point on Earth, select a point in time and observe the starry sky. Use the constellation figures for your orientation, and zoom in on telescope photos of interesting objects. Switch between views taken at different wavelengths and track the motions of Sun, Moon and the planets. 

Get Mars or the Moon to the center of the image, and navigate closely to its surface.  Load one of the photographic panoramas and transport your viewers to extraterrestrial landscapes. Let WWT for powerdome take you to planets or their natural satellites, observe the shadows of Jupiter’s moons, and find out where the majority of asteroids are located in the solar system.

Tours and dome renderer

With Tours you can create and present shows on particular topics. This mode already includes a great number of tours, but WWT for powerdome lets you plan your own ones. You can interrupt a scene, interact in live mode, and continue the tour at the same point or anywhere else. Lastly, WWT enables you to render your scenes, create dome masters and present them as powerdome videos independently of WWT.