Online stargazing with GigaGalaxy Zoom

The Eagle and Swan (or Omega) nebulae are two of the largest and most active star-forming regions in the Milky Way. The nebulae are located close to each other in the Milky Way’s Sagittarius spiral arm.

Credit: 

ESO/GigaGalaxy Zoom

Blogging on EARTH

In need of a sense of perspective? The European Southern Observatory has a new way to look at the universe: with a zoom button.

ESO has unveiled an interactive, online 360-degree panoramic view of the night sky called GigaGalaxy Zoom, with which you can gaze at the stars as they appeared above two of the observatory's dark, crystal-clear viewing sites in Chile (La Silla and Paranal). ESO plans to release three extremely high-resolution images, each successively more detailed, for viewing at GigaGalaxy Zoom as part of the International Year of Astronomy 2009.

The first image, released today, is of a starry swath of our own Milky Way Galaxy; it's a gorgeous 800-million-pixel image, in which viewers can zoom in and learn about the Magellanic Clouds, Jupiter, the Orion Nebula and other points of interest. The second image, to be released Sept. 21, will be of a smaller region of the sky and was taken with a hobby telescope. The third, to be released Sept. 28, will zoom in even further, covering a one-degree field of view of the night sky.

More online stargazing:

Galaxy Zoo
Stellarium

Carolyn Gramling
Wednesday, September 16, 2009 - 11:30