You are looking at more than 84 million stars, the largest ever catalogue of the centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way. Astronomers at the Paranal Observatory in Cerro Paranal, Chile, stitched the 9 gigapixels of the original image from thousands of individual infrared pictures.You can see the full, zoomable version here.

It contains more than 10 times as many stars as previous catalogues and should help astronomers learn more about the central bulge of stars at the heart of the Milky Way. Plotting the colour of each star against its brightness allows astronomers to create a census of stars, revealing more about the structure and content of our galactic centre.

The team have already spotted a large number of faint red dwarf stars, which are known to be a good place to look for exoplanets.


Image by Ignacio Toledo/ESO/VVV Consortium

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