Largest Ever Milky Way Panorama Constructed from 800,000 Snapshots

A Chicago planetarium unveiled the 120-feet-long picture of our home galaxy this week

Spitzer’s Milky Way Panorama

I can almost see my … wait, never mind

Size doesn’t always matter when it comes to NASA’s pretty pictures, but it may certainly make an impression upon visitors at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. The planetarium has revealed a gigantic Milky Way panorama that stretches 120 feet long and 3 feet wide at the sides. The center of the picture bulges out to 6 feet wide to accommodate the center of the galaxy.

Scientists constructed the mosaic from 800,000 individual images taken by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope during a five-year period. Pixel junkies can salivate at the thought of 2.5 billion pixels that help make the image pop.

Spitzer’s infrared views covered about half the entire Milky Way in this particular view. For stargazers, that translates into an area of sky as wide as a pointer finger and as long as the length of arms wide open.

People who can’t get enough of galactic scenery can check out Spitzer’s earlier collaborative work with the Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-Ray Observatory, which provides a three-way view of the Milky Way center.