It's Full of Stars: 84 Million Stars of the Milky Way in 9 Billion Pixels

It's impossible to capture the scale of our galaxy on your computer screen, but darned if the European Southern Observatory isn't going to try. The observatory has released a 108500×81500 pixel mosaic of the central parts of the Milky Way. You weren't planning on doing anything else with your weekend, right?


Thousands of images from the VISTA survey telescope at ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile were used to create this massive mosaic. The images are part of the data from the VVV Consortium public survey studying individual stars in the central part of the Milky Way. Because the VISTA's camera is sensitive to infrared light, it can see through the dust that blocks the view for other cameras, giving us an especially clear look at these distant stars. The ESO recommends exploring the full image with their zoom tool. Just know that a person could get lost in all those glittering lights.

Images from ESO. Cropped image from PetaPixel.

VISTA gigapixel mosaic of the central parts of the Milky Way [ESO via PetaPixel via It's Full of Stars]

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