Mostly Mute Monday: A GLIMPSE of the galaxy

“This data will enable scientists to build the most accurate model ever of star-formation, history and evolution within our galaxy, and understand the mechanism behind the origin of practically all the light in our Universe.”

There’s nothing quite like the plane of our Milky Way galaxy. Some 200-400 billion stars are located there, including our own Sun. From our vantage point within it, most of these are obscured by the dust lanes present within. But thanks to its views in infrared light, the Spitzer Space Telescope can glimpse not only all of the stars and the dust simultaneously, it can do it at an alarming resolution. Recently, NASA has put together a 360° panorama of more than 2,000,000 Spitzer images taken from 2003-2014, and I’ve gone and stitched them together into a single, 180,000-pixel-long viewable experience that shows less than 3% of the sky, but nearly 50% of its stars.