9 Gigapixel Photo Captures 84 Million Stars

By Jason Fitzpatrick on October 25th, 2012

The European Southern Observatory has released an absolutely enormous picture of the center of the Milky Way captured by their VISTA telescope–the image is 9 gigapixels and captures over 84 million stars.

From the press release:

The large mirror, wide field of view and very sensitive infrared detectors of ESO’s 4.1-metre Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) make it by far the best tool for this job. The team of astronomers is using data from the VISTA Variables in the Via Lactea programme (VVV), one of six public surveys carried out with VISTA. The data have been used to create a monumental 108 200 by 81 500 pixel colour image containing nearly nine billion pixels. This is one of the biggest astronomical images ever produced. The team has now used these data to compile the largest catalogue of the central concentration of stars in the Milky Way ever created.

Want to check out all 9 billion glorious pixels in their uncompressed state? Be prepared to wait a bit, the uncompressed image is available for download but it weighs in at a massive 24.6GB.

84 Million Stars and Counting [via Wired]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/25/12
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