pywwt: The AAS WorldWide Telescope from Python

The pywwt package is the official toolkit for accessing the AAS WorldWide Telescope (WWT) from Python. WWT is a free, open-source tool for visually exploring humanity’s scientific understanding of the Universe. It includes a sophisticated 4D WebGL rendering engine and a cloud-based web service for sharing and visualizing terabytes of astronomical data. WWT is brought to you by the non-profit American Astronomical Society (AAS), the major organization of professional astronomers in North America, and the .NET Foundation.

With pywwt you can:

  • Visualize and explore astronomical data interactively in the Jupyter and JupyterLab environments through an HTML widget

  • Do the same in standalone applications with a Qt widget

  • Load data from common astronomical data formats (e.g. AstroPy tables) into WWT

  • Control a running instance of the WWT Windows application

A WWT screenshot showing exoplanets in the Kepler field overlaid on a background sky map.

A map of exoplanets in the Kepler field rendered over background imagery by pywwt.

This package is under active development. If you run into any issues or would like to see a new feature added, please ask! See the Getting help section below.

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 our complete collection of live example notebooks, go to our 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.

This YouTube video demonstrates the process and shows how you can run upload and run your own notebooks as well. (Note that while it shows an older version of these materials, the general procedure still holds.)

Contributed tutorial notebooks are welcome! Visit the pywwt-notebooks repository on GitHub to suggest one.

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.

Acknowledgments

The AAS WorldWide Telescope (WWT) system, including pywwt, is a .NET Foundation project. Work on WWT and pywwt has been supported by the American Astronomical Society (AAS), the US National Science Foundation (grants 1550701 and 1642446), the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and Microsoft.