Not my usual digital resolution ....

A small section of the Milky Way photo showing the star Eta Carinae. Credit: Lehrstuhl für Astrophysik/RUB

Researchers at the Ruhr Universität, Bochum, have published the largest astronomical photo of all time (so far, of course) with a staggering 46 billion pixels. That is equivalent to stitching together 2 millions of my digital photos!

The photo captures the Milky Way at an unprecedented resolution and has been able to identify over 50,000 objects (mostly stars) that were never recorded before.

The photo is actually the result of 5 years of photo sessions taken in Chile by two observatories in the desert of Atacama, driest place on Earth. A software has stitched all pictures into a single, gigantic, one, leaving on the resulting photo only variable brightness stars, which include stars with planet orbiting it on our orbital plane (so that from our point of view the passing of a planet on the star makes its brightness variable).

The astronomer who took the photos? It was a robot!

Clearly it won't be possible to "print" such a high resolution image on paper. Just as back of the napkin calculation you would need a page with a width of 166km and 66km tall!  Hence no printing but you can look at the picture, and zoom on it on the web site they have created.

Author - Roberto Saracco

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