Zoom through a mind-bending tour of the Milky Way galaxy with the first complete, 360-degree satellite image of the cosmos surrounding Earth.Click here to experience the interactive image (be patient as it loads).
CAUTION: It’s magnificence may consume your attention for a while. As you zoom in, let the sections load, then scroll back and forth through the stars to feel the galaxy’s immense size.
The interactive image was assembled from more than 2 million deep, wide field photographs taken over the past 10 years. This is the first time they have been stitched together into one expansive view. The image covers about 3% of our sky, but because it focuses on the band that includes the plane of our galaxy, it shows more than half of the Milky Way’s stars.
The 20-gigapixel mosaic uses Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope visualization platform.
“If we actually printed this out, we’d need a billboard as big as the Rose Bowl Stadium to display it,” said Robert Hurt, an imaging specialist at NASA’s Spitzer Space Science Center in Pasadena, Calif. “Instead, we’ve created a digital viewer that anyone, even astronomers, can use.”