Spitzer Unveils Biggest Milky Way View at Adler Planetarium

December 4, 2009
The world's largest image of our Milky Way galaxy, taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, went on display this week at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. It is 120 feet long and 3 feet wide at its sides, bulging to about 6 feet wide at the center of our galaxy. Image credit: Adler Planetarium

(PhysOrg.com) -- The world's largest image of our Milky Way galaxy, taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, went on display this week at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.

The new image spans a mind-boggling area measuring 120 feet long and 3 feet wide at its sides, bulging to about 6 feet wide at the center of our galaxy. The portrait was taken over a five-year period and is made up of 800,000 individual images stitched together to create one enormous mosaic. It is comprised of 2.5 billion pixels, making it an image of truly galactic proportions.

The images were captured in the infrared, highlighting things such as space dust and organic molecules that can't be seen by the human eye. The panorama represents the combined effort of two Spitzer survey teams. Data from the Spitzer Infrared Array Camera was collected and processed by the Galactic Legacy Infrared Mid-Plane Survey Extraordinaire team, led by Ed Churchwell of the University of Wisconsin, at Madison. The Multiband Imaging Photometer for Spitzer Galactic Plane Survey Legacy team, led by Sean Carey of NASA's Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif., processed observations from Spitzer's Multiband Imaging .

The image will remain on display at the Adler Planetarium as a permanent exhibit. For those who cannot visit the enormous image mosaic in person, a link to the high-resolution image is at www.spitzer.caltech.edu/Media/releases/ssc2008-11/ .

More information about the Adler Planetarium is at www.adlerplanetarium.org/ .

Provided by JPL/NASA (news : web)

Explore further: Hats Off to Space Day From NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope

Related Stories

Hats Off to Space Day From NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope

May 5, 2005

NASA salutes Space Day, observed this year on May 5, with a new dramatic image of the Sombrero galaxy. Space Day, held the first Thursday each May, is designed to inspire the next generation of explorers. The galaxy, called ...

Milky Way's infrared portrait gives new view of galaxy

June 3, 2008

Humans have always had a ringside seat for viewing the Milky Way. Now, however, thanks to NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers have obtained an entirely new perspective of our home galaxy: a complete mosaic portrait ...

Researchers Discover New Star Clusters in Milky Way

December 12, 2005

Boston University researchers led a team of astronomers who recently discovered nearly 100 new star clusters in the Milky Way, each containing tens to hundreds of never before seen stars. Astronomy Professor Dan Clemens and ...

Astronomers provide fresh peek at nearby galaxy

August 31, 2006

An international team of astronomers, including scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has created two striking images of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a small galaxy nestled right next to the Milky Way.

Galactic survey reveals a new look for the Milky Way

August 16, 2005

The Milky Way, it turns out, is no ordinary spiral galaxy. According to a massive new survey of stars at the heart of the galaxy by Wisconsin astronomers, including professor of astonomy Edward Churchwell and professor of ...

Recommended for you

Cassini transmits first images from new orbit

December 7, 2016

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has sent to Earth its first views of Saturn's atmosphere since beginning the latest phase of its mission. The new images show scenes from high above Saturn's northern hemisphere, including the planet's ...

ExoMars orbiter images Phobos

December 7, 2016

The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has imaged the martian moon Phobos as part of a second set of test science measurements made since it arrived at the Red Planet on 19 October.

Earth's days getting longer: study (Update)

December 7, 2016

Earth's days are getting longer but you're not likely to notice any time soon—it would take about 3.3 million years to gain just one minute, according to a study published on Wednesday.

Curiosity rover team examining new drill hiatus

December 6, 2016

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is studying its surroundings and monitoring the environment, rather than driving or using its arm for science, while the rover team diagnoses an issue with a motor that moves the rover's drill.

Cassini makes first ring-grazing plunge

December 6, 2016

NASA's Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft has made its first close dive past the outer edges of Saturn's rings since beginning its penultimate mission phase on Nov. 30.

3 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

RayCherry
not rated yet Dec 04, 2009
A truly magnificient way to end the year of astronomy. An extremely effective manner to present the results of the Spitzer project, and illustrate the state of the technology and knowledge available. Congratulations, and best wishes for reproducing this display in other locations worldwide.
yyz
5 / 5 (1) Dec 06, 2009
You can take in this incredible mosaic online using the GLIMPSE Image Viewer: http://www.aliene...glimpse/ . A stunning way to view this large dataset.
rwinners
not rated yet Dec 06, 2009
It's a great picture, but that's what it is. Since it is 2.5 billion pixels, it can in no way detail a galaxy of 100-400 (est) billion stars.
I mean, hey! I want a pixel for myself!
It does help put the whole thing into perspective, doesn't it.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.