via Astronomy Now.
The project GigaGalaxy Zoom, which aims to relate what professional telescopes see to the night sky visible to the naked eye has unleashed its third and final level of detail.
The first level of detail was a view of the night sky as the naked eye would see it. A three hundred and sixty degree, 800 million pixel vista of the entire night sky. That view was supplemented with fifteen naked eye treats highlighted in detail. Another view showed you the constellations and there was a button marked ‘zoom into the next level’, which last week went live.
The second level of detail saw the project zoom in on the galactic core, looking at a field of view 34 degrees by 20. This showed the night sky in the region of the galactic centre in true colour as an amateur telescope might be able to photograph it. The image comprises of 340 million pixels stretching from Sagittarius to Scorpio. Again there are fifteen delights to view highlighted at this level and again there is another zoom button, which went live today.
The final level of the project zooms into a smaller portion of the above image, centred around the Lagoon nebula. This is a one and a half degree image, with 370 million pixels centred on the nebula. It was taken with the Wide Field Imager attached to the MPG/ESO 2.2 metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile, showing what a professional level telescope can do. It also shows thirteen things of interest.
For those who prefer something with a bit more motion about it here’s an 18MB video from ESO zooming into the Lagoon nebula.