You’ve probably seen all sorts of maps. Maps of a city or a state. Maps of a country or a continent. Maps of Earth, the moon, and even other planets. But have you ever seen a sky map … that shows everything?
Sky Map – A Map of…Everything?
This map of the sky comes courtesy of NASA’s infrared space telescope and the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). It contains 560 million stars, galaxies, and plenty of other interesting things.
“In the mosaic, the Milky Way Galaxy runs horizontally across this map. The Milky Way is shaped like a disk and our solar system is located in that disk about two-thirds of the way out from the center. So we see the Milky Way as a band running through the sky. As we look toward the center of the galaxy, we are looking through more of the disk than when we are looking at large angles away from the center, and you can see a noticeable increase in stars (colored blue-green) toward the center of the image.” ~ Mapping the Infrared Universe – The Entire WISE Sky
The Milky Way’s disk and central bulge are traced out in blue, representing infrared light with a wavelength of 3.4 micrometres, which mainly comes from stars.
The bluish blobs to the bottom right are our two largest satellite galaxies, the Large and Small Magellanic clouds, more than 150,000 light years away. Andromeda forms a small blue streak to the lower left, and the image is dotted with more distant galaxies…