Astronomers compile image of the Milky Way with 46 billion pixels

Astronomers have compiled the most enormous astronomical image ever made containing 46 billion pixels. The image is of the Milky Way Galaxy and is the result of data gathered over five years by astronomers at Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany. The single massive image is made up of 268 individual views of the Milky Way.

Some of the views that make the image include the sun and the Earth. Images used to compile the single massive image were captured using continuous scanning over five years with telescopes in the Atacama Desert in Chile.

The 46 billion pixel image is viewable by the public, but requires a special tool that can be downloaded here. The five-year mission was looking for stars of variable brightness with that change in brightness indicating a planet was passing in front of the star. The finished file size is 194GB with different angles of the image paired with different filters.

Using the online tool viewers can look deep into specific sections of the image. The image is also searchable giving out specific information about any object in the image, which means you can type in a specific star name and go right to that star. There are over 50,000 variable-brightness stars in the Milky Way.

SOURCE: Extremetech