Largest astronomical image yet compiled shows Milky Way in 46 billion pixels
A team of scientistsfrom the Ruhr-Universität Bochum have compiled the largestastronomical image of all time. The stunning vista is comprised of animpressive 46 billion pixels, and is so large that the researchershave provided a special online tool in order to allow viewers to takein the cosmic scene.
The online tool allowsviewers to observe and zoom in on stunning aspects of the Milky Wayin incredible detail. Users can also search for objects such as starsand nebulae via the input box on the lower left of the screen, whilebeing provided with a coordinates and mini map to keep them aware ofexactly where they are in the huge image.
The constituent piecesof the image were captured over the course of a five-year imagingcampaign carried out by the Ruhr-Universität Bochum researchers as they attempted tocreate a catalogue of celestial objects with variable brightness,such as a star when an exoplanets crosses its stellar disk.
By using telescopesbased in Chile's Atacama desert to shoot the same patches of thesouthern sky repeatedly over several days, the team was able tocapture and document 50,000 new variable objects. The astronomerstook several weeks to calculate and combine 268 of the images inorder to create the vast 194-gigabyte galactic mosaic.
You can take a look atthe huge composite image via the online tool, courtesyof Ruhr-Universität Bochum