NASA's Milky Way photos show our galaxy as it has never been seen before — in a panoramic view that consists of 2 million infrared images taken by the space agency’s Spitzer Space Telescope over the last decade.
The images have been made available on NASA's website, through an interactive 360-degree viewer
, where users can see more than half of all the galaxy's stars, which amounts to about 3 percent of the sky, the Daily Mail reported
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"Spitzer in an infrared telescope, which means it sees through the dust that’s out in space and by seeing through the dust, we get to pinpoint the stellar nurseries that are being born," Suzanne Dodd, Spitzer Space Telescope Project Manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in video on NASA.gov.
If printed out, the mosaic would be as large as a stadium, according to NASA.
"If we actually printed this out, we'd need a billboard as big as the Rose Bowl Stadium to display it," Spitzer Space Science Center imaging specialist Robert Hurt said in a statement, CNET.com noted
. "Instead we've created a digital viewer that anyone, even astronomers, can use."
Prior to the mosaic of photos produced by the Spitzer Space Telescope, the darker regions of the Milky Way were mostly unexplored territory.
"There are a whole lot more lower-mass stars seen now with Spitzer on a large scale, allowing for a grand study," Barbara Whitney of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, co-leader of the Glimpse team, told CNET.com. "Spitzer is sensitive enough to pick these up and light up the entire 'countryside' with star formation."
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