One day, Nick Risinger, a 28-year-old marketing director from Seattle, felt like he needed a change. So he quit his job, packed up six professional astronomical cameras, and hiked 60,000 miles through western United States and South Africa, taking 37,000 color pictures of the night sky.

The result? This 5000-megapixel, interactive, zoomable map showing our full Milky Way galaxy, stars, planets, and the nebulae surrounding it. It's the largest-ever, true-color, 360 degree panorama of the heavens—all created by this first-time astrophotographer. What's even more remarkable is that it's considered better than previous professional sky surveys—like the Digitized Sky Survey of the 1980s—which were shot only in red and blue.

According to Risinger, his aim was to create an image that had more real feeling: "I wanted to create something that was a true representation of how we could see it, if it were 3,000 times brighter," he said. And lucky for us, he's made it freely available to the public. You can see the incredible Photopic Sky Survey right here: [Sky Survey via Wired]