If you’ve ever tried to take a picture of the night sky using just a camera and a tripod, chances are you only captured tiny fraction of our local galaxy. But if you had access to two large telescopes that peered into the space from Hawaii and Chile, it may look something like this:
This “portrait” of the Milky Way is made up of thousands of composite images representing over a billion stars–the most ever captured in any one survey. Scientists hope that by examining this image, they will be able to study gas clouds, globular clusters, and other star-forming areas in order to unravel the origins of our galaxy.
Understanding the cosmic structure of our own galaxy will also allow scientists to further understand our universe as a whole: