See the Milky Way mapped out in stunning detail

Milky Way

The southern plane of the Milky Way. Courtesy of ESO/APEX/ATLASGAL consortium/NASA/GLIMPSE consortium/ESA/Planck

If you're wondering what sort of psychedelic visuals we're looking at here, it is the Milky Way in amazing detail.

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) made these pictures public announcing the completion of its huge galaxy survey, with the help of a really strong telescope in Chile.

“The APEX telescope in Chile has mapped the full area of the Galactic Plane visible from the southern hemisphere for the first time at submillimeter wavelengths — between infrared light and radio waves — and in finer detail than recent space-based surveys,” the ESO’s release says. “The pioneering 12-meter APEX telescope allows astronomers to study the cold Universe: gas and dust only a few tens of degrees above absolute zero.”

So basically, you're looking at some of the best photos around of Earth's home galaxy.

This comparison shows the central regions of the Milky Way observed at different wavelengths. (Read more about this image here.)

Leonardo Testi from ESO said the project offers “a new and transformational look at the dense interstellar medium of our own galaxy, the Milky Way.”

Below are videos offering a closer look at the images.

Video credit: ESO/APEX/ATLASGAL consortium/NASA/GLIMPSE consortium/ESA/Planck. Music: Johan B. Monell (

Video credit: ESO/APEX/ATLASGAL consortium/NASA/GLIMPSE consortium/ESA/Planck/VVV Survey/D. Minniti/S. Guisard
Acknowledgement: Ignacio Toledo, Martin Kornmesser. Music: Johan B. Monell (

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