Microsoft WorldWide Telescope is a free service to humanity. Here are some excerpts from the introductory text
The WorldWide Telescope (WWT) is a Web 2.0 visualization software environment that enables your computer to function as a virtual telescope—bringing together imagery from the world’s best ground- and space-based telescopes for the exploration of the universe.
WWT blends terabytes of images, information, and stories from multiple sources into a seamless, immersive, rich media experience delivered over the Internet. Students of all ages will feel empowered to explore and understand the cosmos using WWT’s simple and powerful user interface.
The mission of the WWT is twofold:
- To aggregate scientific data from major telescopes, observatories, and institutions and make temporal and multi-spectral studies available through a single, cohesive Internet–based portal
- To stimulate interest in science among younger generations, providing a compelling base for teaching astronomy, scientific discovery, and computational science.
Utilizing the Microsoft® high performance Visual Experience Engine™, WorldWide Telescope allows you explore the universe as never before. It enables you to seamlessly pan the sky and to zoom in on celestial features, including stars, nebulae, and planets. For every object, you’ll find multiple information sources at your fingertips, just a mouse click away.
The data in WWT is not only readily accessible; it is presented in a form that facilitates integrative research, thereby helping to bridge the gap between cutting-edge research, education, and public knowledge. WWT represents a major step toward the democratization of science, and it has turned the Internet into "the world´s best telescope"—a veritable supercomputer at your desktop.
Read more about the Microsoft WorldWide Telescope from here.
As for me - I am speechless!