VISTA gigapixel mosaic of the central parts of the Milky Way

November 7, 2012

(Credit: ESO/VVV Consortium, Ignacio Toledo, Martin Kornmesser)

This striking view of the central parts of the Milky Way was obtained with the VISTA survey telescope at the European Southern Observatory (ESO)’s Paranal Observatory in Chile. This huge picture is 108,500 by 81,500 pixels — nearly nine billion pixels. It was created by combining thousands of individual images from VISTA, taken through three different infrared filters, into a single monumental mosaic. VISTA has a camera sensitive to infrared light so it can see through much of the dust blocking the view for optical telescopes, although many more opaque dust filaments still show up well in this picture.

This image is too large to be easily displayed at full resolution and is best appreciated using the zoom tool.