One million stars — towards the dark heart of the Milky Way*

With this remarkable VISTA mosaic we look deep into the dusty heart of our own Milky Way galaxy in the constellation of Sagittarius (the Archer). About one million stars are revealed in this picture, most of them not seen in visible light pictures. As well as absorbing light, the dust also scatters blue light from the distant stars and makes the central part of this huge starscape appear very red. This image is a mosaic created from VISTA images taken through Y, J and Ks filters in the near-infrared part of the spectrum. The image is about 2 degrees by 1.5 degrees in extent. The total exposure time for this mosaic was only 80 seconds.

This image is available as a mounted image in the ESOshop



ESO/VISTA. Acknowledgment: Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit

About the Image

Release date:11 December 2009, 11:30
Related releases:eso0949
Size:24245 x 15566 px

About the Object

Name:Galactic Centre
Type:• Milky Way : Galaxy : Component : Center/Core
• Milky Way : Sky Phenomenon : Night Sky : Milky Way
• Milky Way : Galaxy
Distance:25000 light years

Mounted Image

Image Formats

Large JPEG
486.0 MB
Screensize JPEG
488.0 KB



632.6 KB
1.1 MB
1.7 MB
2.1 MB
3.0 MB


Also see our