As a fan of StarGate SG1 science fiction TV series, I often wonder how it would feel if I had a computerized panel to look at other galaxies, stars, constellations & planets, and learn about them more. The closest thing that I came across is the Microsoft Worldwide Telescope (WWT). It is a Windows application as well as a web app which allows you to explore the universe, bringing together imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes (like Hubble and Chandra) in the world and combining it with 3D navigation. If you do not know what to look at, then it also has guided tours of the space narrated by astronomers and educators.
The Microsoft Worldwide Telescope is available as a Windows desktop client for Windows users. But if you are using a different operating system like Mac OS, then you can use the web client version of WWT. The desktop client version as well as the web client version require you to install the Microsoft Silverlight first.
No matter which version of the WorldWide Telescope you use, the interface is pretty much the same. The interface has three main sections – Collections, Guided Tours and Search. In the Collections, you can view the images captured by the various telescopes installed on the Earth or in the outer-space. There are collections of constellations, solar system, Spitzer telescope, Hubble telescope, Chandra telescope etc.
In the Guided Tours section, there are narrated tours of nebulae, galaxies, blackholes, supernovas, planets, star clusters etc. There is a tour about learning the use of WWT itself. There are many interesting tours e.g., there is a tour about how scientists proved the existence of the first blackhole.
The WorldWide Telescope is a very easy and interesting way to learn about the mysteries of the space around us. The high density images of solar system, planets, galaxies, nebulaes, supernovas and blackholes make it very easy to understand how the universe works.
You can get the WorldWide Telescope in http://www.worldwidetelescope.org/.