Frequently Asked Questions

How can I use WWT on my Mac?

There are several ways you can use WWT on your Mac. The simplest way is to just use the web client in your browser without downloading anything. However, this does not give you full access to all of WWT's features. You can also install the Windows Operating System on your Mac and run WWT from there. There are a couple of ways to do that, including bootcamping your Mac and installing a paid program that lets you run Windows on your Mac. For more information on these options, see ...

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What is a tour?

"Tours" are interactive paths through the night sky, designed to tell a story or teach a particular astronomy concept.  They look like movies, but when viewed in WWT, you can pause the tour to explore regions of the sky that catch your interest, and you can click on hyperlinks throughout the tour to learn more about an object or phenomenon.

You may create a tour using the desktop version of WorldWide telescope.

Here is a screen cast of an example tour, made by Alyssa Goodman, called "Dust and Us."...

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How do I change the scale in WWT?

In the bottom right corner of the WWT window, you should see a small horizontal scale labeled “Planet Size” and going from “Actual” to “Large.” Adjusting this will enlarge the planets, stars, and other objects, keeping their relative sizes accurate, but without scaling the distances proportionally. This makes things much easier to fit on the screen, but makes things look much closer together than they are. ...
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How can I help students with research projects? Where should I point them for ideas for topics and how can I help them use WWT to find more information?

    When choosing topics, try to steer students toward interesting stories, not just facts. (Examples: How does a star form? Where do planetary nebulae come from? What happens when two galaxies collide? What is the evidence for black holes? Why is Neptune blue while Saturn is orange?)

    Don’t feel like you have to tell them all the answers. Teach them to fish instead of giving them fish. “That’s a good question. What do you think?”

    When you do give answers, try to focus your explanations on WHY something is true, HOW we know...

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How do I use Wikipedia from the Finder Scope?

To use Finder Scope to get information from Wikipedia, click on the “Research” button at the bottom of the Finder Scope screen. Click on “Information” and then select “Look up on Wikipedia.”  Make sure to align the Finder Scope with the image that lists only the name of the object, not a title from a press release or from a specific photograph.

Also, keep in mind that not every object in WWT has a Wikipedia page. Many objects that have names that like HIP91792 that seem to be just a string of letters and numbers do not have Wikipedia pages. You may have...

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I’m having trouble making the finder scope work. What should I do?

First, check to make sure the Finder Scope is lined up with the correct object. You can do this by reading the name listed on the Finder Scope and comparing it to the name of your desired object. If the object the Finder Scope is focused on is not the object you want, try moving it slightly and see if you can detect your object.

You can also check that the thumbnail that shows up on the Finder Scope matches the image you want to research. You may sometimes find that your Finder Scope is looking at an infrared image when you were trying to...

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