Researchers have stitched together a picture of our Milky Way Galaxy, and the result is a stunning image containing more than a billion stars.
The picture took 10 years to create, and it combines data from the UKIDSS/GPS sky survey acquired by the UK Infrared Telescope in Hawaii with the VVV survey data acquired by the Vista telescope in Chile.
The image to the right is a screen capture from a teeny section of the picture, and it gives you an idea of the numbers the picture reveals. There’s nothing like the original, however. If you’d like to go explore the image yourself, check out the online zoom tool. There’s a little box at the top that allows you to pick an area on the picture and zoom in for a closer look. You can also move left and right on the strip to see the whole Milky Way disc.
The work was presented to the UK National Astronomy Meeting by Dr. Nick Cross from the University of Edinburgh.