Image Credit: Mike Read (WFAU), UKIDSS/GPS and VVV

Just as the Hubble Ultra Deep Field revealed billions of galaxies, this large-scale sky survey reveals billions of stars. These are the stars of the Milky Way, shown in their full glory in one of the most comprehensive sky surveys of this kind.

Over the 10-year course of this project, teams at the UK Infrared telescope in Hawaii and the VISTA telescope in Chile collected a ton of data and millions of images allowing them to stitch together this masterpiece. Since the images were taken in infrared, many of the stars and structures normally obscured by the dust found in the Milky Way come to life showing us the majesty of the place we call home.

Because Earth is located in one of the Milky Way’s spiral bands, we have a brilliant vantage point to look back into our galaxy and marvel at this fantastic sight.

Even though this survey contains billions of stars, it is still a fraction of the total number of stars astronomers estimate reside within our galaxy. It is truly an awesome feat that we have the ability to look back at this awesome sight and reveal the incredible splendor of the Milky Way, our home in the cosmos.

You can say goodbye to your social life and explore the entire image. That image is very large, so it might take some time to load. It's well worth the patience.

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