milky way, photographed by stereo b, 21st-22nd january 2007.
the plane of the galaxy around scorpius. the second brightest object in the image, above the galaxy, is antares. the very brightest, above and left, must be a planet - perhaps mars. the pair of bright stars that just sneak into frame at bottom right are alpha and beta centauri; one of the stars in the alpha centauri star system, proxima centauri, is the closest star to the sun.
18 frames over 22 hours. on january 21st, the spacecraft used a lunar gravity assist to escape the earth-moon system and enter a heliocentric orbit.
image credit: nasa/stereo. animation: ageofdestruction.