An enormous mosaic over 1,250 hours of exposure time captures the Milky Way in incredible detail




March 17, 2021

Grace Ebert

The tulip mist. All images © J-P Metsavainio, shared with permission

Twelve years and 1,250 hours of exposure later, Finnish photographer J-P Metsavainio sewn together a massive 1.7 gigapixel network Details every fiery burst and every starry expanse of the Milky Way. The star mosaic documents the 125-degree distance between Taurus and Cygnus and consists of 234 individual images that extend over 10,000 pixels. Almost 20 million stars are visible in the distance.

The ongoing project started in 2009 and Metsavainio knew it would take at least a decade to complete. “As a visual artist, the composition of the picture means a lot. Over the years, I’ve shot hundreds of single targets out of the Milky Way. Every picture you take is a work of art in its own right. At the same time, I always kept an eye on the needs of the final large composition, ”said the photographer, noting that he caught the more pronounced elements like supernovae first before filling in the gaps.

Having shot with relatively short focal length instruments in recent years, Metsavainio plans to use this incredibly high resolution panorama as a map as he will switch to longer focal length tools in the coming months. For details on the whole process of Metsavainio, as well as details of the equipment used, see his side, where you can also find a larger portfolio of his galactic projects. (over PetaPixel)

The complete composite image in depicted colors from the light emitted by ionized elements. Hydrogen = green, sulfur = red and oxygen = blue. (Click to enlarge)

The 125 degree route from Taurus to Cygnus

Detail of the Wolf Rayet shell around the star WR 134

California Nebulam NGC 1499

Sharpless 124 & the Cocoon Nebula


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