It’s that time of year again. A time when the greatest minds from around the globe share their ground-breaking research with the public. TED 2008 opened yesterday and the first talks are now showing up on the web. The highlight so far has to be Roy Gould’s talk on a new technology from Microsoft called the WorldWide Telescope. The application brings together images from the most powerful ground and space based telescopes to create what they are calling “a holistic view of the universe”. Think of Starry Night or Stellarium on steroids. One of the neatest features? You can view everything in the optical, infrared, or x-ray bands.
This is exciting news for anyone with a passing interest in astronomy and for professional astronomers alike. The program has incredible potential as an educational tool and I hope it will help inspire public interest in deep space research. I’ll be interested to see if the images from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey will be included. WorldWide Telescope is set to be released this Spring with alpha going on now. Watch the video or visit the TED website for more information.