WWT Parallax Lab

The WWT Ambassadors and faculty and staff at Bucknell University have developed a hybrid lab involving both hands-on and virtual activities that focuses on the concept of parallax. This lab, designed for non-science undergraduates in an introductory astronomy class, combines real-time modeling in a terrestrial environment with detailed visualization using virtual environment software. Students are therefore able to both explore parallax as it is viewed astronomically and develop physical intuition for the concept by measuring it in real time.


But what is WorldWide Telescope?

WorldWide Telescope (WWT) is a free computer program that enables students to explore the universe in incredible detail.  WWT compiles the best imagery from telescopes all over the world into rich 2-D and 3-D maps of the sky, across the whole electromagnetic spectrum. 

Students can manipulate and interact with the program, visualizing almost everything we know about the universe in ways they never could before.  One student declared WWT:

 “Cooler than Call of Duty!”

Students measuring parallax on campus

How do I run the WWT tours?

  • Download WWT for free from worldwidetelescope.org.  (This lab currently runs in Windows only)
  • Download resources this page, including the WWT tour files (.wtt extensions)
  • Double click on the .wtt file to open and run the tour


Parallax Lab Video Parallax Lab Video

What’s in this lab?

Students at a computer using WWT

WorldWide Telescope is a free, open source program of the American Astronomical Society, originally developed by Microsoft Research. These materials were developed by Bucknell University and the WWT Ambassadors Program at Harvard University with support from NSF grant DUE-1140440.

Bucknell Logo

This research is funded by the National Science Foundation (DUE-1140440).