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The AAS WorldWide Telescope Web Client

The “web client” of the AAS WorldWide Telescope (WWT) is a web application that lets you explore the universe from the comfort of your chair.

Learn more about WWT here.

The webclient is an AngularJS web app powered by the WWT WebGL Engine JavaScript library.

Building and Testing

In order to build and test the app, you need:

  1. Node.js, specifically the npm command. If you need to install Node.js, use your operating system’s package manager or visit for installation instructions.
  2. The Grunt task runner, specifically the grunt command. Once again, install it using your operating system’s package manager or see the Grunt website.

The first time you check out these files, run:

npm install

Once that has been done, you can build the website with:

grunt dist-dev

This will create the app files in the dist subdirectory of your repository checkout. To test, all you need is a local HTTP file server pointing at that subdirectory. We recommend:

npx http-server dist

This server (and most other static-file servers) will print out a URL that you can visit to test out the web client locally.

There are also dist-prod and dist-localtest tasks that configure the build slightly differently — consult the profile-*.yml files, especially profile-prod.yml, to see the parameters that change. By creating a profile-localtest.yml file derived from profile-dev.yml, you can monkey with some low-level settings if you need to do so for testing purposes.


Merges to the master branch of this repository will be built and automatically deployed to the testing version of the webclient:

The production webclient is updated by creating a new release, which is done by pushing to this repository a Git tag whose name has the form vX.Y.Z. The version in the package.json file should also be updated when doing this.

Getting involved

We love it when people get involved in the WWT community! You can get started by participating in our user forum or by signing up for our low-traffic newsletter. If you would like to help make WWT better, our Contributor Hub aims to be your one-stop shop for information about how to contribute to the project, with the Contributors’ Guide being the first thing you should read. Here on GitHub we operate with a standard fork-and-pull model.

All participation in WWT communities is conditioned on your adherence to the WWT Code of Conduct, which basically says that you should not be a jerk.


The AAS WorldWide Telescope system is a .NET Foundation project. Work on WWT 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.


The WWT code is licensed under the MIT License. The copyright to the code is owned by the .NET Foundation.

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