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Central area of the Milky Way galaxy, released by astronomers at the European Southern Observatory's Paranal Observatory in Chile. The photo shows 84 million stars in an image measuring 108,500×81,500, which contains nearly 9 billion pixels, and is actually a composite of thousands of individual photographs shot with the observatory's VISTA survey telescope.
The Milky Way arches across this rare 360-degree panorama of the night sky above the Paranal platform, home of ESO’s Very Large Telescope. The image was made from 37 individual frames with a total exposure time of about 30 minutes, taken in the early morning hours. The Moon is just rising and the zodiacal light shines above it, while the Milky Way stretches across the sky opposite the observatory.