Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory in Chile have released a breathtaking new photograph showing the central area of our Milky Way galaxy. The photograph shows a whopping 84 million stars in an image measuring 108500×81500, which contains nearly 9 billion pixels.
The VISTA’s camera is sensitive to infrared light, which allows its vision to pierce through much of the space dust that blocks the view of ordinary optical telescope/camera systems.
To give you an idea of how crazy this photo is (and what 84 million stars looks like), here are a couple of 100% crops we made while fully zoomed in. The first one shows the bright area seen in the center of the frame:
The Atlantic notes that if you were to print out this image as a standard book photograph, it would be nearly 30-feet wide and 23-feet tall.
Check out the zoomable version of the photograph yourself to get a sense of how massive this photo (and space) is.