Astronomers in Germany have created an image of our Milky Way galaxy that dwarfs anything else ever attempted

Small section of the photo showing the M8 nebula (Credit: Lehrstuhl für Astrophysik, RUB)

Weighing in at a massive 46 billion pixels, a new image of the Milky Way from the astronomers at Ruhr University Bochum in Germany is the largest astronomical image of all time.

The picture is so big, researchers headed by Professor Rolf Chini had to create a special online tool to house it. The tool allows you to view the Milky Way in its entirety, zooming in and out to explore specific areas.

The image was stitched together from 5 years' worth of data collected by researchers, who were searching the galaxy for objects with variable brightness. So far, more than 50,000 new variable objects have been discovered.