Microsoft’s Worldwide Telescope project has just been integrated with Bing Maps via a new Bing Maps application. The WWT project connects users to all the major telescopes in the world and the images they’ve captured via a client application that either runs on the desktop or in the web browser using Silverlight technology. Now WWT can function as a map layer, also via Silverlight.
To use it, you can either click on a map’s location to see what stars would be overhead in that area or (and possibly even cooler than that), you can just look up when in Streetside mode, the Bing Maps view which shows real-world curbside photos of an area.
To launch the map app in order to begin exploring the universe from within Bing Maps, do the following (via the Bing Team blog post):
- Launch the WWT Bing Maps app
- Click the “Start Here” button which enables a telescope mouse pointer which you drag somewhere onto the map.
- Once you drop it on the map the map will fade to the constellations and stars overhead. You can navigate the universe the same way you do Bing Maps by grabbing an area and dragging the map around (now a universe map).
- Click the question mark icon near the bottom of the map. This enables a control that you can drag over specific entities on the universe map to identify what they are. To turn off the information view, just click the question mark icon again