pywwt Reference Documentation

pywwt is the official toolkit for accessing AAS WorldWide Telescope (WWT) from Python. WWT is a tool for showcasing astronomical data and knowledge brought to you by the non-profit American Astronomical Society (AAS), the major organization of professional astronomers in North America. To learn more about WWT, visit the WWT homepage or the WWT documentation hub.

Here’s a live, interactive copy of the WWT research app that lets you explore a 25-gigabyte mosaic of the Andromeda galaxy atop the Pan-STARRS 3pi dataset with sources from the Gaia DR2 catalog overlaid:

pywwt enables you to include this app in Jupyter notebooks and control it programmatically from Python, overlaying your own imagery and catalogs. pywwt also lets you build desktop Qt applications using the same interfaces, control running instances of the WWT Windows application, and more!

Quick start

The quickest way to see what the pywwt can do is to try it out live, which you can do straight in your browser with our cloud-based Jupyter notebooks. Here are some examples:

To browse the complete collection of live example notebooks, go to the index page.

Note: it is usually fast to launch these notebooks, but if the code has been recently updated, you may have to wait a few minutes for the backing software images to be rebuilt.

To browse the Python commands that can be used to control WWT once you’ve opened it up, see the documentation of the BaseWWTWidget class.

Table of Contents

API Reference

Getting help

If you run into any issues when using pywwt, please open an issue in the pywwt repository on GitHub. We also encourage you to consider asking a question on the WWT discussion forum site.


pywwt is part of the AAS WorldWide Telescope system, a .NET Foundation project managed by the non-profit American Astronomical Society (AAS). Work on WWT has been supported by the AAS, the US National Science Foundation, and other partners. See the WWT user website for details.