Finnish photographer JP Metsavainio took nearly twelve years to collect enough data for his high resolution gigapixel class mosaic image of the Milky Way. Total exposure time used is around 1250 hours between 2009 and 2021. He spent the 12 years photographing the galaxy in which we reside from a site in northern Finland. His results are spectacular. Go to his website to see the results of his labor. One of his images is below. They can be viewed at larger sizes at his website
He says, “It took nearly twelve years to collect enough data for this high resolution gigapixel class mosaic image of the Milky Way. Total exposure time used is around 1250 hours between 2009 and 2021.” The equipment he used to achieve this feat of astrophotography is described in detail on his site.
Of course, since we are inside the galaxy we can get a complete picture of it as it would look to an outside observer. Metsavainio’s work is the best that currently exists.
“The final image is a 100,000-pixel-wide, 1.7-gigapixel mosaic made up of 234 individual panels that Metsavainio painstakingly stitched together in Photoshop, using the location of stars to align the individual exposures, reports Michael Zhang for PetaPixel. Metsavainio shot the photos that went into his galactic mosaic using modified camera lenses and telescopes from his observatory in northern Finland, close to the Arctic Circle, reports Eoin McSweeney for CNN.” This quotation is from the Smithsonian Magazine article about the one man project.
A visit to Metsavainio’s site is a treat which displays a photographic achievement of epic dimensions.