Microsoft open sources WorldWide Telescope under the MIT license

Microsoft has open sourced Worldwide Telescope under the MIT License.  Now Worldwide Telescope will be an independent project and will be a part of the .NET foundation.

Earlier this year Microsoft had decided that the WorldWide Telescope be made available under an open source license. And doing so will allow any individual or organization to extend the functionality as per the need.


It was in 2007 the WorldWide Telescope started as a Microsoft Research Project with various partners including many astronomers and educators from Caltech, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, the University of Chicago and several NASA facilities. Millions of people have used and downloaded it. WorldWide Telescope was designed considering rich interactivity.

Guided Tours, which are especially popular among educators and astronomy enthusiasts, offer scripted paths through the 3D environment, enabling users to view and create media-rich interactive stories about anything from star formation to the discovery of the large-scale structure of the universe.

What will Open Sourcing of WorldWide Telescope mean

  • Open sourcing WorldWide Telescope will help in extending and improving the software.
  • Will continuously enhance formal and informal learning , astronomical research
  • will allow wider community to participate in future development efforts to meet the needs of future users.
  • will bring deep and complex open source .NET project to the astronomical community

Alyssa Goodman from Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said:

“As a long-term collaborator, user and proponent of WorldWide Telescope, releasing it as open source is a natural and significant next step for the project. Educators, students and researchers now have the ability to directly influence and contribute to the future development and potential of this unique tool.”

Said Microsoft:

We believe that extensions and improvements to the software will continuously enhance formal and informal learning and astronomical research. Making the code available will also help ensure that the data, protocols and techniques used are also available for others to inspect, use, adapt and improve upon in their own applications.

WorldWide Telescope is written in .NET and the code is now available at GitHub.

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Vasudev G. is a Technology Enthusiast. He is a Windows Insider MVP and is committed to Microsoft technologies and products.

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