Talk about a big image.
Astronomers in Germany have compiled the largest astronomical image to date, a picture of the Milky Way that contains a whopping 46 billion pixels and was compiled over five years.
The project came together after researchers at Ruhr-Universität Bochum began monitoring our galaxy for the brightest objects – such as stars in front of which a planet is passing, or multiple systems where stars orbit each other and which obscure each other every now and then.
Along with discovering some 50,000 new objects, the researchers have compiled hundreds of images during that time.
They then assembled the 268 images into one comprehensive image. From there, they created a 194 Gigabyte file into which images taken with different filters were entered.
Viewers using this online tool can view the complete ribbon of the Milky Way at a glance, or zoom in and inspect specific areas.