Astrophotographer creates detailed image of the Milky Way Galaxy: Project spanning 12 years comprises of nebulas, black holes and other celestial objects

Milky Way Galaxy
Broad and detailed image of the Milky Way Galaxy captured. Pic credit: Rene Tittmann/Pixabay

A Finnish astrophotographer has painstakingly and patiently created one of the most detailed images of the Milky Way Galaxy. The exceptionally rare and stunning mosaic is both broad and detailed.

Finnish astrophotographer Jukka-Pekka Metsävainio has offered a complete image of the Milky Way Galaxy. He spent more than 12 years carefully capturing each shot and then stitched them together.

A unique image of Earth’s home galaxy:

Metsävainio’s mosaic comprises 234 individual image panels. The final image shows about 20 million stars. There are several noticeable details such as nebulas, black holes, huge streams of gas, and other large celestial objects.

The image covers 125 degrees by 22 degrees panorama of the sky. The mosaic stretches from the constellation Taurus through Perseus, Cassiopeia, Lacerta, and Cygnus.

The final mosaic is 100,000 pixels wide. By carefully stitching the 234 individual frames together, Metsävainio has created a mosaic that is both broad and detailed.

In other words, the final image captures the whole Milky Way Galaxy as a whole in one image. However, it also offers a detailed look at the several celestial objects that make up Earth’s home galaxy.

The Milky Way Galaxy gets its brilliant yet subdued colors from ionized, or charged, elements. Hydrogen is green, Sulfur is red, and Oxygen is blue.

How did Jukka-Pekka Metsävainio capture a complete image of the Milky Way Galaxy?

Metsävainio began his project back in 2009. Incidentally, he was aware and determined to capture the entire Milky Way Galaxy.

“I think this image is the first in the world to show the Milky Way at this resolution and depth in all three-color channels. The picture consists of independent works I have photographed over the years, which have been combined into a large mosaic by gradually closing the gaps between the shots.”

Interestingly, Metsävainio has shared the details of his equipment and the process of capturing such super-large objects in the sky. He has captured all images from Finland.

He reportedly began the project with a Meade LX200 GPS 12-inch telescope and a Canon EF 200-millimeter lens. However, the artist upgraded to a customized setup he calls “the Frankenstein monster,” made of an Apogee Alta U16 camera and a Tokina AT-x 300-millimeter lens.

While capturing the images was a very complex process, stitching them to make the Milk Way Galaxy whole was even more demanding. Undertaking such a project needs an in-depth knowledge of space in addition to dedication, perseverance as well as creativity, noted the artist.

Metsävainio has assured the Milk Way Mosaic is just the beginning. He plans to use the knowledge and expertise to take more long-focal-length, highly magnified images of the night sky.

A while ago, an amateur photographer inadvertently captured the longest, long-exposure shot of the sun’s path. The Milk Way project not only took longer to complete, but it is also way more complex.

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