Adler Releases World's Largest Milky Way Image

By Steve Bryant
|  Wednesday, Dec 2, 2009  |  Updated 4:00 PM CDT
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NASA/JPL-Caltech

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Damn girl, what you working with.

Chicago's own Adler Planetarium unveiled an enormous 2.5 billion pixel mosaic of the Milky Way today, and it's composed of 800,000 thousand separate images from NASA's Spitzer space telescope.

The original image was released last year, but now the gob-smackingly huge print version is newly available.

The printed image spans 120 feet long by 3 feet wide at its sides, bulging to 6 feet at the center of the galaxy.

More than just a publicity stunt, the print represents an overview of the galaxy that's rarely seen -- and never seen in single images from telescopes like Spitzer, which retrieve very detailed-but-narrow shots of the sky.

Scientists use these huge images to perform statistical and trend analysis.

Most of the images have been available for download for a year -- check them all out here!

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