From where can I download gigapixel images of the Milky Way released by NASA?

Milky Way images NASA

I know I am over a year late, and you probably found it already.

However, someone may be searching for it, so here it is.

,The largest pic of Andromeda 4.

3 GB (as highlighted by Alankrit Gautam),https://www.



psbPS: you will need photoshop to open it and will take about 2.

5 GB of RAM.

Totally worth it.

,Funny story: upon extracting a 10 GB zip file of HD space pics, I got this message.

,I had to use another program; windows couldnu2019t handle it :D,EDIT: Hereu2019s the Top 100 space pics in the highest quality they have (it includes the Andromeda one).

The zip file is about 10GB.




zipAlso, hereu2019s a 46-Billion picture of the Milky Way Galaxy taken from Earth by astronomers from Ruhr-Universitu00e4t Bochum.

Itu2019s not downloadable because itu2019s a whooping 194GB, which would require top-end hardware to load it.





Beautiful pictures of the Milky Way

We can see individual stars billions of light years away in the special case of supernovas.

,List of most distant supernovaeSN 1000+0216 is at a redshift z=3.


The lookback time for such an event (the time since it happened) is about 10 billion years, and the current comoving distance to such an event is something like 30 billion light years.

That is the calculated distance due to the expansion of the universe since the supernova explosion happened.

,In nearby galaxies we can resolve many individual stars.

Hubble used measurements of variable stars in nearby galaxies to determine their distances.

The current record distance at which an individual Cepheid variable has been observed is about 56 million light years, in the M100 galaxy.

,We can also observe and photograph nebulas, star-forming regions, globular clusters, and other extended objects in nearby galaxies.

Milky Way galaxy pictures high resolution

It kind of depends on what you mean by accurate.

The picture you are looking at is a model; a representation.

So in that sense, by definition there is a reduction in accuracy.

,But there are a lot of uncertainties when it comes to the anatomy of the Milky Way.

Although Stephen Alexander first came up with the idea that our galaxy existed in the shape of a spiral way back in 1852, it was long believed that the Milky Way featured only two arms.

The problem is that a lot of our view is blocked by gas and debris, and itu2019s a great challenge to deduce the shape of the Milky Way while embedded in it, anyway.

It has been described as being akin to having to describe the appearance of your house from the perspective of one of the rooms in that houseu2014possibly a little room, like a toilet, or a closet.

,But the image does represent our current understanding of the anatomy of the Milky Way.

We roughly know our location within the galaxy, and how far we are from the Galactic Center, which is 7.


7 kiloparsecs (approximately 25,000u201328,000 light-years).

We knowu2014or have deduced, in any caseu2014that the Milky Way features four arms:,Norma Arm & Outer Arm (purple),Scutumu2013Centaurus Arm (green),Carinau2013Sagittarius Arm (red),Near/Far 3 kpc Arm & Perseus Arm (turquoise),The New Outer arm (purple) was discovered fairly recently, in 2011 , as an extension of the Outer Arm, which itself is an extension of the Norma arm.

Essentially itu2019s a long arm wrapping around the Milky Way.

So itu2019s not at all clear and probably unlikely that we now have a complete picture of the true anatomy of the Milky Way.

,Ultimately these images shouldnu2019t be taken as accurate visualizations of the appearance of the Milky Way, but rather the best representation of our current understanding.

,,The best actual representation of the Milky Way is probably the image below, which is a side-view projection from within the galaxy.

,In 2013 the Gaia astronomical observatory was launched to map the positions and motions of a billion stars of the Milky Way using parallax, and released a 3D map of this galactic projection in 2015 .

The image above is a 2016 update of that same map.

,So what youu2019re seeing is an image with the locations and distances of a billion stars and gas mapped out, as we are looking towards the Galactic Center (the central bulge in the image).

Let me state explicitly that this is not a photograph, but a projected map, which due to its high resolution looks like a photograph.

You can also see two small satellite galaxies of the Milky Way on the lower right side: the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds.

Read more here: Gaiau2019s billion-star map hints at treasures to comeWith projects like these, we can get a more accurate representation of the Milky Way; we can image or map some parts while we will have to deduce other parts, and that this together into a coherent picture.

Unfortunately the end product will always be a representation rather than a real image of what the Milky Way actually looks like.

For that reason itu2019s important to study other galaxies, so we can come to a greater understanding of our own galaxy.

When was the first picture of the Milky Way taken

Im guessing youre referring to pictures like this:,,nThats not our galaxy.

Thats our neighbor galaxy, Andromeda.

Real pictures of the Milky Way are all taken from within the galaxy and look more like this:,

Milky Way Tracker

Grab a laser pointer.

Point it toward the farther edge of our galaxy and press the button.

Go ahead and hold the button down as long as you can, lets say till the batteries run out.

We are 20u201325,000 light years from the edge of a 100u2013120,000 light year wide galaxy.

So that means that long steady beam of light, uninterrupted, will be traveling at 186,000 miles per second for the next 70u201380,000 YEARS before it reaches the farthest side of the galaxy.

,Now consider the fact that radio waves travel at light speed.

Imagine scaling a model of the Milky Way Galaxy down to approximately 3 feet in diameter.

The first radio waves ever created by humans could be modeled as a sphere no bigger than a period at the end of one of these sentences.

,Using that as a reference, you can see that anything we send out with current technology will probably take billions of years just to get to the edge of the Milky Way; let alone the edge of the universe.

Hubble Milky Way photos

We can get great panoramas of the Milky Way from our Earthly vantage point.

Axel Mellinger has been making some of the best whole sky images for years, such as his Milky Way Panorama 2.


,The artwork showing the Milky Way galaxy as it would seen by a distant observer are produced using the time-tested methods of cartography.

Milky Way facts

Every star you see at night is a member of the Milky Way.

Yet if you look at the blurry object overhead in winter, about the angular size of the full moon, you are seeing a bundle of stars outside the Milky Way that outnumbers those in the Milky Way.

Its called the Andromeda Galaxy.

Without a telescope, you cant tell that it is made up of individual stars.

It just looks like a fuzzy patch.

,Look at this image of the Andromeda Galaxy.

Scientists used to call it the Andromeda Nebula, and they thought that it was a ball of gas within the Milky Way, and that the stars in the image were behind the nebula.

Now we know that all the individual stars you see in that picture are actually in front of the nebula.

That giant galaxy is in the background.

,If you would like to know what the Milky Way actually looks like from an outside perspective, take a good look at this picture.

Most astronomers think we are very similar in size and shape, although a little bit smaller.

There is a second small galaxy also visible to the lower right of Andromeda.