NASA’s Spitzer Telescope brings 360-degree view of galaxy to our fingertips

After Big Bang

Touring the Milky Way now is as easy as clicking a button with NASA’s new zoomable, 360-degree mosaic presented Thursday at the TEDActive 2014 Conference in Vancouver, Canada.

When you look up at the Milky Way on a clear, dark night, you'll see a band of bright stars arching overhead. This is the plane of our flat spiral galaxy, within which our solar system lies. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Wisconsin When you look up at the Milky Way on a clear, dark night, you’ll see a band of bright stars arching overhead. This is the plane of our flat spiral galaxy, within which our solar system lies.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Wisconsin

The star-studded panorama of our galaxy is constructed from more than 2 million infrared snapshots taken over the past 10 years by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.

“If we actually printed this out, we’d need a billboard as big as the Rose Bowl Stadium to display it,” said Robert Hurt, an imaging specialist at NASA’s Spitzer Space Science Center in Pasadena, Calif. “Instead, we’ve created a digital viewer that anyone, even astronomers, can use.”

The 20-gigapixel mosaic uses Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope visualization…

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