Pan And Zoom Your Way Through This Epic, Explorable Panorama Of The Milky Way

The picture here represents an insignificant scrap of a much, much, much larger image, stitched together over ten years by a group of astronomers from around the world. Zoomed out it is a fair cross-section of our very own Milky Way galaxy, as seen from Earth. Zoomed in... well, it's an endless sea of wonder.

The viewer page takes a little while to load, depending on your connection. Once it's finished, you can either drag the window around, exploring the masses of stars in our galaxy, or click on the "mini-map" in the top-right corner to go directly to a specific section. This mini-view also features buttons to zoom in and out, though these actions will force the viewer to refresh.

To the likes of you and me, it's just a gigantic, albeit super-pretty shot of the universe around us. For scientists, however, it is a treasure trove of information just waiting to be plundered.

[VISTA Science Archive via ScienceDaily]

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