US Naval Observatory has deployed their monster Precision Measuring Machine to digitize photographic plates covering the whole sky and creating the above map. Yellow corresponds to 150,000 stars per square degree, while dark blue corresponds to only 500 stars per square degree. (For comparison, the Full Moon takes up about 1/4 of a square degree.) The most striking feature on this whole sky projection is the central disk of our Milky Way Galaxy, which stretches across the middle. Dark dust lanes are evident there by the great number of stars they obscure. The two bright spots seen south of the Milky Way's disk are the neighboring Magellanic Cloud galaxies. Anyone can order a free copy of this data, but not everyone can fit data from all 526,230,881 stars on their hard-drive.
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NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.
Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day
Publications with keywords: POSS - sky
Publications with words: POSS - sky