One of the hardest parts of science is trying to study some parts of it in detail, while not forgetting that any one topic is just part of a much bigger picture. Sometimes we get so stuck on the details of the trees, that we miss the forest. A team of scientists from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum have came up with a new tool to help us keep this perspective in astrophysics.
Over a series of nights in the last 5 years, a campaign was carried out by the scientists in an attempt to create a catalogue of objects with variable brightness (e.g., when exoplanets crosses its stellar disk. They used telescopes based in Chile’s Atacama desert to shoot the same patches of the southern sky repeatedly over several days. Now they have taken all these data and compiled the largest astronomical image, ever. About 268 images have been aligned and captures in one image in order to create a vast 194-gigabyte galactic mosaic.
Even if you spend $10,000 on your 4K resolution, 8 million pixel tv, you’ll still be left disappointed. This stunning vista is comprised of an impressive 46 billion pixels. It so large that the researchers have provided a special online tool in order to allow viewers to take in the cosmic scene. Like google maps for the milky way. The online tool allows viewers to observe and zoom in on stunning aspects of the Milky Way in incredible detail. You can also search for objects such as stars and nebulae via the input box on the lower left of the screen.
A big milky way galaxy, finally captured in all glory, and all its detail.