The composite image was stitched together from three separate images captured by some of astronomy's most advanced tools: a near-infrared image from Hubble, an infrared image from Spitzer and an X-ray view from the Chandra Observatory. Each of these images is itself a composite, a mosaic of sweeping surveys of the galaxy beyond our solar system.
The result: a view of the Milky Way from an amazing perspective that includes vibrant regions of star birth, the supermassive black hole that hubs our galaxy and hazy blue X-ray light from super-hot gasses leftover from stellar explosions. Makes you feel kind of small, doesn't it?
Check out the annotated version below, or click here to download your own hi-res images.