Enthusiasts for the study of astronomy and constellations have an array of technological options available to them in the digitally driven age, in which applications which were previously performed through analog methods are now being realized through Internet- and computer-based technology are being provided for the general use of the astronomy field. A growing number of available options for the investigation of and study by the amateur in astronomy have been created by prominent software and technology developers. One notable instance of the production of a technical tool for the general public’s known interest in familiarizing itself with the identification of constellations occurred in 2008. At this point, Microsoft announced and placed on the market a beta version of a device referred to by the company the Worldwide Telescope (WWT), which received favorable reviews from general consumer reports websites and journals specializing in generally available technology. This astronomy function allows people to look at images of constellations in the available form of a client-based application. After the Worldwide Telescope capability had been available in the form of a client-based application for astronomy enthusiasts for some time, Microsoft made the capability available to users in the form of a Silverlight device based through the web. In 2010, Microsoft announced and then implemented the WorldWide
Telescope technology as an application available through the Bing Maps service.
The essential point of the Bing Maps-enabled version of Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope technology for the pursuit of an interest in constellations is to allow people the ability to see the constellations at any given point in time as they would really appear through the function of a sophisticated piece of astronomy equipment. This function has been set up by Microsoft to work in essentially the same way as the more commonly known and established Bing Maps capability for grabbing an area of the sky as shown on the digital map and dragging it to a different point on the map. The creation of the Bing Maps-version of the preexisting WorldWide Telescope is thus intended to heighten the ease of use and access to an important field of astronomy information for the amateur and consumer through the introduction of a function that has previously been employed mainly in regards to geographical information.
In order to try to ensure the rates of easy access to this tool for looking at constellations, Microsoft has made the new Bing Maps-enabled version of WorldWide Telescope accessible through several browsers. Astronomy enthusiasts using either Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox as their browser of preference will be able to use the tool to satisfy their curiosity about constellations, though the Silverlight program, also available from Microsoft, must be installed before either of these browsers will support the desired for functions associated with the Bing Maps WorldWide Telescope. One program which will not interact well with the Bing Maps WorldWide Telescope is Google Chrome, which should thus be turned if installed on a user’s computer in order to allow the program to function successfully.