Space exploration has been a hot topic this year, and while NASA was exploring Pluto, a team of astronomers at Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany were hard at work compiling a massive 46-billion pixel image of the Milky Way, the largest astronomical photo ever taken.
“For five years, the astronomers from Bochum have been monitoring our Galaxy in the search of objects with variable brightness,” said the team in a press statement. “Those objects may, for example, include stars in front of which a planet is passing, or multiple systems where stars orbit each other and which obscure each other now and then.”
268 individual views of the Milky Way were captured over the 5 year period, leaving project lead, Professor Rolf Chini, with the task of compiling the images over a seven week period to end up with the final 194GB file.
The result is simply stunning and is thankfully available for the public to dig into with a special online tool that is searchable down to individual objects in the galaxy It is easy to get lost in time and in space if you check it out, so when you have a free moment or hour, dig in for yourself.