Microsoft's World Wide Telescope is a web connected desktop app that renders a tiled tour of high resolution, zoomable images of the entire night sky, woven together from a number of different telescopes and satellites. It leverages a "3D teraserver visualization engine." Robert Scoble's first interview at Fast Company TV is with Curtis Wong and Jonathan Fay, who worked on the project.
We've embedded the demo video below because the product is likely to be one of historic proportions and we thought our readers would appreciate the opportunity to see it.
The whole thing is pretty remarkable and worth a look. The scaling of huge images down to something that users can watch and navigate on a laptop is the crux of the innovation. The program isn't available yet but should be soon. User generated tours should produce some fascinating education.
The video below gets into the action with live screens of the Telescope about 25% of the way through. A basic discussion of the technical requirements, with engineer David Fay, starts about 80% of the way through (sorry, the FC video player is awful so now time stamps are available). Full screen view, in the bottom right, is pretty good.