Infinity on Camera: the Milky Way’s billion stars
I’m taking this straight from Phil Plaitt at Bad Astronomy. If you look at image and are able to comprehend anything about the universe, let me know what it is.
I myself am simply stunned.
To the right you will see the smallest of captures of a new skymap image you can see see here. Its’ 2000 x 20,000 pixels (which is only a piece of the whole survey), so if you have a mediocre computer like me, it will take longer to load than those half-naked Tasha Yar pics you ogled in 1996.
But if you do click, you’ll see an infrared map of the Milky Way Galaxy. The content it contains is beyond any meaningful description I could provide. But for the record, there are more than a billion stars here. This kind of picture doesn’t really strike the viewer in the first moments. It requires–and deserves–a few minutes of careful observation. It is a record of our galaxy, as well as a work of art, as well as human context in the search for meaning.
I’ll echo the Bad Astronomer on this one:
And this would be where I find myself lacking in adjectives. Titanic? Massive? Ginormous? These all fail utterly when trying to describe a one hundred fifty thousand megapixel picture of the sky.