The most massive 3D map of the night sky has been released. It contains a trillion pixels and would require 500,000 high-definition TVs to view in its entirety. These images represent just the tiniest fraction of the full map.

And now, here's the entire thing. You can see how the images of the massive galaxy M33 and the intense star-making region NGC 604 at its center fit into the full image - as just the tiniest specks in the southern sky, blown up by several orders of magnitude. You can follow the red insets in the full image to see how it all fits together:

Those massive brown globes are the southern and northern galactic caps, respectively. The northern cap alone contains over two million objects from more than 800,000 galaxies and 100,000 quasars...and this entire map still only covers a third of the entire night sky. The universe is, in case you hadn't realized, a very big place.


With so much stuff lurking in these images, there's no way that we've covered even a fraction of the entire sky - and you're welcome to join the search. The work of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the entire map is searchable online at their website. So, assuming you've got a spare couple of decades, how about doing the world a favor and really looking through .01% of the night sky? You should just about be able to cover that much in the next twenty years, assuming you don't bother with luxuries like eating or sleeping.

[via New Scientist]