What’s New in the American Astronomical Society WorldWide Telescope (September 2016)

New and improved Web Client including web authoring

Most of the work under the AAS has been to migrate the advanced visualization functionality and tour authoring capability of the Windows Desktop Client to the Web Client, powered by WebGL.  This new web architecture uses the native graphics horsepower of your PC to produce sophisticated visualizations, all within a web browser independent of the operating system or browser. Tours authored in the web can be played back on the Windows Desktop Client on dome or other advanced visualization system as well as shared easily on-line.  You can try it out for yourself.  Just open the link: http://www.worldwidetelescope.org/webclient/ and make your own tour!

Figure 1 - Screenshot of new Web Client showing on-line authoring of a tour.

Additional information on making tours using the new Web Client is available here: http://www.worldwidetelescope.org/Learn/Authoring#webauthoring.

The Windows Desktop Client version 5.5 builds on previous version 5 releases with improvements in functionality and performance. 

This new version of WWT includes many bug fixes improving rendering quality and performance as well as including new branding of WWT under the American Astronomical Society (AAS).  Functionally WWT 5.5 includes much more controllable orbits of bodies.  This is easily done by connecting to IAU’s Minor Planet Center (MPC).  This allows queries by name to MPC that can be retrieved as orbits which can be finely controlled in the timeline editor.  It also allows for queries to be retrieved as reference frames; this allows 3D models of the objects to be added to the scene.  This functionality enables the new WWT tours explaining the exciting results of a potential ninth planet, much larger than the Earth very far out in the Solar System.  For more information on this scientific result including WWT tours see: http://www.worldwidetelescope.org/news/planet9.

Figure 2 - Minor planet and predicted orbit of Planet Nine.

In the same way you can add the orbits of minor bodies or spacecraft with orbital elements, you can also add the obits of satellites using Two-Line Element set (TLE) representations of orbits.

Figure 3 - Satellite obits around the Earth.

For more information on adding orbits of satellites and minor planets see: http://www.worldwidetelescope.org/Learn/Authoring#AddingMinorPlanetOrbits.

What's New in WWT 5.1 (November 2014)

WorldWide Telescope version 5.1 builds on the features of 5.0 with improvements in functionality and performance.

As you zoom into mapped cities 3D data will be automatically shown. You can explore on your own or take a look at this tour: Flight over San Francisco v1.0.wtt. Note, this tour and the Neuron one below look great in Virtual Reality.

Bing 3D Maps

Sandbox Mode for Exploring Arbitrary 3D Models

Load arbitrary 3D models from various sources and explore them in a Sandbox Mode to view only imported models and dynamic lighting. For example, explore neurons in the retina of a mouse from the Eyewire project in this tour.


Prepare and print three-dimensional terrain with 3D Printing Support

3D printing

What's New in WWT 5.0 (January 2014)

WorldWide Telescope 5.0 is the latest version and is already in production use in some of the world’s premiere planetariums. This feature-rich application is now available to everyone as a free download.

The timeline editor gives you true cinematic control for optimal animations and transitions.

Timeline Editor

Display new, highly detailed models of the International Space Station and the Gemini Observatory, or import your own 3D models.

International Space Station

Deeply detailed Mars imagery from the HiRISE Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter


Atmospheric and lighting controls help you visualize Earth and other planets more realistically.

Earth Lighting

Tilt and rotate controls let you explore planet surfaces in Solar System mode.


A comprehensive set of planetarium and dome features help you create seamless displays on complex single- or multi-projector domes.

  • Experience full-dome tour authoring and instant full-dome playback of desktop tours with overlays and images
  • For easier control of your displays, new MIDI controller support enables you to customize control panels by using inexpensive but powerful MIDI performance controllers
  • You can now manage projector nodes, check status, and render performance—all from the WWT console
  • The new Screen Broadcast feature allows any application on the console to display as a window in Full Dome mode