A stunning 1.7 gigapixel panoramic image of the Milky Way by Finnish astrophotographer JP Metsavainio took 1,250 hours of exposure over the course of roughly 12 years to compile, with the end result being a brilliant mosaic-like image displaying the gargantuan beauty of our Milky Way.
Metsavainio began this project in 2009, according to his blog, when he began stitching together 234 individual images. The resulting piece displays a sizeable portion of the galaxy with some 20 million out of the Milky Way’s 200 billion stars evident.
“It took nearly twelve years to collect enough data for this high-resolution gigapixel class mosaic image of the Milky Way,” Metsavainio explained. “The total exposure time used is around 1250 hours between 2009 and 2021. The final photo is about 100, 000 pixels wide, it has 234 individual mosaic panels stitched together and 1,7 gigapixels.”
The reason why compiling the image took so long is simply due to the size of the mosaic, as well as the fact that the image is “very deep,” the astrophotographer explained.
“Another reason is that I have shot most of the mosaic frames as individual compositions and published them as independent artworks,” he continued.
Metsavainio used a number of different cameras to create the image, and subjected certain celestial object to more exposure so that they would pop in the final product and wouldn’t remain dim. One supernova remnant in the mosaic took 60 exposure hours alone to process.
Indeed, the more one looks at the panorama, the more one discovers how rich in detail it is and how many “hidden gems” are scattered throughout.
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