This mind-blowing photograph of the Milky Way contains 20 million visible stars and took 12 years to make
Few photographs have been more dedicated than that of Finnish astrophotographer JP Metsavainio. He started in 2009 a project that has finally finished this year. After 12 years taking photography, thousands of hours observing the galaxy and a lot of work … the work has paid off: an impressive 1.7 gigapixel 100,000 pixel wide photo.
The picture actually they are many photographs altogether. JP Metsavainio began by capturing different areas of interest in the Milky Way. However, later he realized that he could put all of them together into one. That is why he set out to “put together” the 234 individual panels that he already had to form a single image.
The result of the composition is an incredible 100,000 pixel wide photograph. It says that it encompasses a total of 125 degrees of the sky and goes from the constellation of Cygnus to the constellation of Taurus. In between, a total of more than 20 million visible stars. It is possible to see the image at full resolution on the author’s website.
According to the author, the cameras have been taking the picture for more than 1,250 hours in total. That is to say, the exposure time to take the photographs, if the total is added over the 12 years, it is more than 1,250 hours. In some parts it was exhibited longer than in others, he says.
Why 12 years of work? Because actually the goal was not to make this image, but the individual images that you have photographed during this time. At a certain moment thought it was a good idea to put them all together and capture the missing pieces. Then it was a matter of using photoshop to put all the pieces together and align them simply using as a guide some stars that coincided in different pieces.
The image shows, in addition to stars, different nebulae throughout the galaxy of all sizes and colors. Despite the more than 20 million stars, several constellations and nebulae … it is not even by far the entire Milky Way, just a part of it.
In recent years they have been made public multitude of images taken by space telescopes, probes and ground tools. As a result we have an impressive and precious catalog of the stars that surround us or are millions of kilometers from us. For example, we have the Highest resolution photograph of the Sun ever taken and its impressive Sunspots. Closer to us we have the moon and this impressive image It doesn’t seem even real If we get even closer, the International Space Station.
From afar and looking at the galaxy we have multitude of gigantic photographs and some very deep. A photo that was certainly relevant to science was the first image of a black hole, although the most amazing of all, for me, is still the one that was made to the sun looking across the earth.