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AAS WorldWide Telescope at AAS 233

Monday, December 31, 2018 - 14:39

The WorldWide Telescope team has been working hard this year to enable more researchers to use WWT in their work. We’re looking forward to sharing the fruits of our labors with you at the upcoming Seattle meeting! We’re especially excited because this year is WWT’s 10th birthday ­— the first release of the Windows desktop program happened back in 2008. Below is a list of all the activities we’ve got planned. We hope to see you there!

AAS WorldWide Telescope Booth

Monday–Thursday | All day | Exhibit Hall Booth 425

The WWT team will staff a station within the AAS booth in the exhibit hall over the entire conference. See what’s like to use WWT through an Oculus Rift VR headset or a giant Microsoft Surface Studio touchscreen panel! Or just chat with our developers and expert WWT users about what WWT can do for your research, teaching, and outreach, and where the project is going.

AAS WorldWide Telescope presents: The University of Washington Mobile Planetarium

Monday–Thursday | All day | Exhibit Hall Booth 437

Planetaria aren’t just for slideshows anymore! Just across from the AAS WWT booth, come learn how modern planetarium software and hardware — an inflatable Go-Dome, a hemispherical mirror, and a laptop running WWT — can engage the public, educate students, and dynamically visualize modern research data. The University of Washington Mobile Planetariumis portable and can be set up in under an hour by a small team of people. Besides enjoying this immersive experience on its own terms, at our booth you can also learn how to bring a mobile planetarium to your own institution or astronomy club. The UW Mobile Planetarium team has made its resources freely available online and is happy to offer tips if you’re curious!

Special Session: AAS WorldWide Telescope Presents: Advances in Astronomical Visualization

Monday 1/7 | 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM | Room 214 | Jonathan Fay

This session is aimed to bring the AstroViz 2018 workshop — exploring the many aspects of astronomical visualization for science, informal education, and communication — to the AAS community. There will be a mix of invited speakers and contributed lighting talks showcasing the cutting edge of astronomical visualization.

Special Session: Professional Development with AAS WorldWide Telescope

Tuesday 1/8 | 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM | Room 214 | Peter K. G. Williams

The WWT is a seamless data visualization tool with an engaging learning environment. The WorldWide Telescope project enables terabytes of astronomical images, data, and stories to be viewed and shared among researchers, exhibited in science museums, projected into full-dome immersive planetariums, and taught in classrooms from elementary school to college levels. Learn to spruce up your paper and share your research with WorldWide Telescope! This workshop is aimed at astronomy researchers of all levels. You don’t need to have any previous knowledge of WorldWide Telescope. This is an interactive tutorial: please bring an internet enabled laptop.

Special Session: AAS WorldWide Telescope in Outreach and Education

Tuesday 1/8 | 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM | Room 214 | Patricia Udomprasert

WWT is also a powerful tool for astronomy outreach and education. Its rich visualization environment functions as a virtual telescope, allowing anyone to make use of real astronomical data to explore and understand the cosmos. WWT users navigate through 3-dimensional and 2-dimensional views of planets, stars, and galaxies, giving them a better mental model of our universe. WWT can also be used to create scripted multi-media paths called “Tours,” to share stories about how we came to know what we know in astronomy. Students can make their own tours for astronomy projects, and educators can use tours to design lesson plans about curricular topics. In Part 1 of this session, invited speakers will present brief examples of WWT being used in a variety of educational settings, including Astro 101 classes, K12 science, online courses, and planetaria. Part 2 of the session will be a hands-on WWT tutorial, where we will lead attendees through a variety of activities in the WWT web client. Please bring your own computer. (Windows is not necessary).

WorldWide Telescope 2019 Planning Breakfast

Wednesday 1/9 | 7:00 AM – 8:00 AM | Location TBD | Peter K. G. Williams

Key WWT stakeholders will meet to discuss the status of the project and plans for WWT in 2019. This meeting is primarily aimed at the project’s Advisory Board and Steering Committee, but other project stakeholders may attend. Please email Peter Williams ( if you are interested in joining.

Special Session: AAS WorldWide Telescope with Python and Astropy

Wednesday 1/9 | 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM | Room 214 | O. Justin Otor

Join us for a workshop where we will learn how to visualize FITS files and Astropy data sets against imagery from large-scale sky surveys with pyWWT, a Python-driven and Astropy-integrated interface of WorldWide Telescope. pyWWT is an open-source and actively developed Python package designed to offer a more research-focused take on WWT, an interactive, two and three-dimensional astronomical visualization engine powered by imagery from many prominent telescopes and widely used in K-12 education and for planetarium shows. In this tutorial, attendees will be interactively guided through the package on their own laptops to sample features that fill everyday needs in the workflow of the data-savvy astronomer. Attendees will leave with knowledge of how to use pyWWT to plot their own Astropy-compatible tables and personal FITS files on real-data sky backgrounds and, in the future, create their own visualizations for talks, astronomy lectures, and “video abstracts.” We also be encouraging feedback and suggestions on how to make pyWWT more useful to the astronomy community!

Special Session: AAS WorldWide Telescope Shareathon and Brownbag

Wednesday 1/9 | 12:40 PM – 2:00 PM | Room 214 | Gina Brissenden

Do you use the AAS WorldWide Telescope (WWT) — in your research, publications, teaching, outreach, or elsewhere? Perhaps you’re a WWT Developer — of software, visualizations, curriculum, tours, or something else? Not sure what all of this is about but are curious? Perfect! Grab your lunch, AND a colleague, then come join others in our community for an informal discussion about how we’re all using the AAS WWT, or would like to be, what our development needs are, and about ways in which we can engage with each other — and build community — beyond the length of this session. Presenters from AAS WWT sessions held earlier in the meeting will also be along to contribute to our conversation. Thanks to the AAS WWT, light beverages will be provided, so we strongly encourage preregistration. We very much look forward to seeing you there!

WWT at the Hack Together Day

Thursday 1/10 | All day | Room 4C-2

Last but not least, WWT developers will be attending the now-traditional Hack Together Day on the final day of the meeting. Seek them out if you have project ideas, have any questions about how WWT works under the hood, or want to learn about creating fast and portable web-based 3D visualizations using WebGL!

If you won’t be able to make it to Seattle this year, we’ll be posting all of our training materials and a write-up of what transpired. Email to be notified as everything is posted!

Peter K. G. Williams
AAS Innovation Scientist & Director, AAS WorldWide Telescope Project
Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian
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