January 2010 — The Milky Way panorama
This magnificent panorama covers much of the southern and northern celestial sphere, revealing the cosmic neighbourhood close to our tiny blue planet. The gorgeous starscape is part of the first of three extremely high resolution images featured in the GigaGalaxy Zoom project, launched by ESO as part of its International Year of Astronomy activities, and shows the sky as seen with the unaided eye. The plane of our Milky Way galaxy, which we see edge-on from our perspective on Earth, cuts a luminous swath across the image. Its disc is marbled with both dark and glowing nebulae, which harbours bright, young stars. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds shine at the lower right.
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