This is just a tiny part of the massive 9-gigapixel image. Image Credit: ESO

Home, The Milky Way…It is the only known Galaxy in the entire Existence that we are currently aware of, which has a sustainable system with life in it. When I think about the universe, there is no better quote than Arthur C. Clarke’s:

“Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”… Either way, scary it is.

Our Galaxy is the most significant to us because it’s the only Home we know of. But when it comes down to some facts: The Milky Way Galaxy is a typical barred spiral, just like billions of other galaxies in our universe. Let’s take a deeper look at our galaxy.

The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy and is just over 100,000 light-years in diameter.  Please imagine looking right down at our galaxy from the top, in centre you would see a bulge which would be surrounded by four extremely large arms wrapping it.

Also, it is estimated that spiral galaxies cover at least two thirds of the galaxies in our universe.

The spectacular image at the top of this article is a view of the middle of our galaxy, which was taken by European Space Agency’s Vista Telescope.  If you tried to take a look with the naked eye at our galaxy, all you would see is countless stars in the middle of a cosmic star dust surrounding.

But luckily, with the help of the Vista Telescope we now have the most detailed portrait ‘EVER TAKEN’ of our Galaxy, which will be used by astronomers to create a space map of well over 84 million stars. You read it right; a whopping 84 million stars. One has to be extremely naive to believe we are the only life existing. Don’t you think so?

Ok, back to the image… The image is just a tiny part taken from the orıginal image which has a resolution of 108,500×81,500 (9-Gigapixel), covering over 24 gigabytes in storage!

VISTA stands for Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy; — To get this image astronomer had to take thousands of images, all taken from different angles which were later on compiled into one giant 9-Gigapixel mosaic. The VISTA is one of the largest telescopes equipped with infrared technology on the planet and without any doubt has proven just how much it will contribute for astronomy advancement.

The reason why the image is extremely clear is because of the infrared camera used on VISTA. Take a look below to see a comparison between an infrared telescope and visible telescope.

Infrared Telescope compared to a Visible Telescope. Image Credit: ESA

You might find it interesting to know that the Milky Way Galaxy is growing faster than the Speed of Sound as new stars are born in the far edge of our galaxy according to a new study.

The scientist/author Cristina Martínez-Lombilla at the Astrophysics Institute of the Canary Island said:

“The Milky Way is pretty big already,” and added:

“But our work shows that at least the visible part of it is slowly increasing in size, as stars form on the galactic outskirts,” Martínez-Lombilla also said.

“It won’t be quick, but if you could travel forward in time and look at the galaxy in 3 billion years’ time, it would be about 5 percent bigger than [it is] today.”

In all essence, The Milky way is a young but a very big Galaxy.

To think that in this small image which the astronomers have put together, there are over 84 million stars is just mind blowing.  Knowing that the original size of this image takes up a space of 24.6 gigabytes, I mean how can you define it?

If you never thought light pollution was not a problem before, think again. Due to the light pollution, one in three of us can’t see the galaxy anymore.  The best place to see The Milky Way is in Chile, Aura Observatory. The Aura Observatory is actually one of only two Dark Sky Sanctuaries on Earth, which means that it is located in a very remote area with few nearby threats to the quality of its dark night skies.

To really appreciate the entire beauty of this amazing image, I strongly advice that you take a look at the below link, you don’t want to miss it and for any reason you’d like to download the whole file then just follow the link.

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