Worldwide Telescope, now with more Mac

wwtWorldwide Telescope has just been updated with a browser version, so now everyone can gaze at the heavens with telescopic detail. It’s not as smooth when zooming and scrolling as the installed program, so I would still recommend installing the full version if you can, but it does have most of the features of the full version. I think it’s amazing that you can even run WWT in a browser. Highly recommended.

WWT KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS
Zoom on a point –  double-click mouse
Zoom in/out –  mouse wheel
Scroll around –  click and drag mouse
Info –  hover mouse over object
Finder Scope  –  Shift and click on object
Rotate View –  Command/ Control + click and drag mouse horizontally

Visit Worldwide Telescope and click on the web client to explore…

UPDATE:
Gas & High Skies tours added to Worldwide Telescope

Comet Lulin: Visible by Naked Eye

Comet Lulin is coming this week, and it may well be visible by the naked eye, or at the least with a pair of binoculars. We’ve made a Lulin skymap to make finding it as easy as finding a needle in a needle shop.

lulin
Lulin skymap, click to enlarge.
Map created with images from Worldwide Telescope 

Comet Lulin, named after the Lulin Observatory in Taiwan that discovered it in 2007, will be at it’s closest to Earth on 24th Feb, just 38 million miles away (Mars is 34 million miles away at its closest).

On 23rd Feb it will be 2 degrees below Saturn (about 4 moon diameters).

To find it, use our sky map above (click to open). Find The Plough (or Big Dipper) in the night sky, which is shaped like a saucepan, follow the two inner stars of the saucepan down (yellow line) till you hit the bright-ish star of Regulus. You’ll know when you hit Regulus because it forms the bottom of a backwards question-mark, also known as The Sickle (of Leo). Diagonally down to the left is the bright yellowish light of Saturn, and it should be equivalent to four moon diameters below it. Look for a greenish fuzzy patch, perhaps with a slight tail. By the 27th it will be just half a degree (one moon diameter) below Regulus, which may be easier to find.

lulin_green

Comet Lulin (C/2007 N3) has a gaseous atmosphere the size of Jupiter and is made up from poisonous cyanogen gas, which gives it its green colour when sunlight hits it in a vacuum.

It may still be visible all next month as well, but this week it will at its closest and brightest.

Watch the High Skies…

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Awesome Image of Saturn

This is the awesome filmic picture of Saturn taken by the Cassini robotic spacecraft, part of the Cassini-Huygens mission sent by NASA and ESA to study Saturn. You must click the image to see it at full size to really appreciate it.

Saturn – click to enlarge

The original is from the great Astronomy Picture of the Day site, well worth a visit.

Explanation…

Soft hues, partially lit orbs, a thin trace of the ring, and slight shadows highlight this understated view of the majestic surroundings of the giant planet Saturn. Looking nearly back toward the Sun, the robot Cassini spacecraft now orbiting Saturn captured crescent phases of Saturn and its moon Rhea in color a few years ago. As striking as the above image is, it is but a single frame from a recently released 60-frame silent movie where Rhea can be seen gliding in front of its parent world. Since Cassini was nearly in the plane of Saturn’s rings, the normally impressive rings are visible here only as a thin line across the image center. Although Cassini has now concluded its primary mission, its past successes and opportunistic location have prompted NASA to start a two-year Equinox Mission, further exploring not only Saturn’s enigmatic moons Titan and Enceladus, but Saturn herself as her grand rings tilt right at the Sun in August 2009.


Saturn Wallpaper – click to download

We converted it into wallpaper, widescreen-1900×1200 and standard-1600×1200, which should fit most screens… Saturn Wallpaper.zip