Are we going to get a Google – Microsoft space-race? No sooner than Google announce they’re going to land on the moon, than Microsoft launches its WorldWide Telescope site. The WWT…

“functions as a virtual telescope, bringing together imagery from the best ground and space telescopes in the world for a … seamless panning and zooming across the night sky blending terabytes of images … “

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At last, we’ll be able to surf through the universe Elite-style, minus the pesky space-pirates. I imagine someone is cooking up a multiplayer spacelane-trading RPG & cockpit-overlay sidebar widget for WWT as we speak. Although it’s just a trailer site at present, with videos and a FAQ — but it looks exciting. I wonder if it’s based on the Photosynth technology? And, since I got pushed Silverlight 1.0 via Windows update this morning, I imagine it also uses Silverlight.

WWT will launch in the spring. In the meantime you may want to tinker with the free Gravitas DVD and the excellent open source planetarium software Stellarium

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