Telescope captures incredible mosaic of the Milky Way

Scott Sutherland
January 21, 2013

Like grains of sand.

That's been the analogy used to describe the number of stars in our Milky Way galaxy. No matter what words you use to try to describe it, though, nothing can compare to seeing it for yourself.

This 1-billion-pixel image is a mosaic of 1,200 individual pictures, and represents 200 hours of exposure time by the Very Large Telescope, at the Paranal Observatory in northern Chile.

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You can see the full-size, zoomable version of the image by clicking on this link, but before you go, be sure to zoom in on the lower left of the image, below the dark clouds of dust, to see why the grains of sand analogy works so well.